Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ex-terrorists turned Christian evangelists

It was only a matter of time. Where John Todd, Mike Warnke, "Lauren Stratford," and others found that they could get attention and money by claiming to be ex-Satanists/witches/Illuminati converted to Christian evangelists, we now see "ex-Islamic terrorists" turned born-again Christians and hitting the lecture circuit, and getting paid for appearances at the U.S. Air Force Academy, as the New York Times reports. The Times article ends with the most obvious question:
Arab-American civil rights organizations question why, at a time when the United States government has vigorously moved to jail or at least deport anyone with a known terrorist connection, the three men, if they are telling the truth, are allowed to circulate freely. A spokesman for the F.B.I. said there were no warrants for their arrest.
Of the three speakers, Zak Anani, Kamal Saleem, and Walid Shoebat, Anani is described as the most explicitly preaching born-again Christianity rather than providing information about Islamic terrorism. He also seems to be the one with the clearest record of making false claims about his own background:
Anani, now an evangelical Christian, claims to be an expert on the topic because he killed 223 people in Allah's name, "two-thirds of them by daggers." He even claims to have killed a man for waking him up at 3 a.m. to pray.

Anani, born in Lebanon, said he joined a militant Muslim group in the early 1970s at age 13, and made his first kill shortly after.

He said he was soon promoted to troop leader and formed his own regiment, but later met a Christian missionary and converted.

Anani said he was persecuted for his conversion -- even his dad hired assassins to kill him.

He said he was soon promoted to troop leader and formed his own regiment, but later met a Christian missionary and converted.

Anani said he was persecuted for his conversion -- even his dad hired assassins to kill him -- and he was technically dead for seven minutes after narrowly escaping a beheading. He fled to the West and moved to Windsor about 10 years ago. His wife and three daughters joined him three years later.

Even in Canada, Anani said he's been physically attacked, and his house and car have been burned in Windsor for speaking out against Islam.


Staff. Sgt. Ed McNorton said Windsor police don't have a record of physical attacks against Anani, and his house wasn't burned.

McNorton said someone did torch his car, but it wasn't for the reasons Anani has claimed.

"There is nothing in the report we have to indicate it was in retaliation to his religious beliefs," said McNorton.

Anani's bio also states he lectured at Princeton University. Cass Cliatt, Princeton's media relations manager, said that never happened. She said Anani was scheduled to lecture there in late 2005 with the Walid Shoebat Foundation. But the event was cancelled and the foundation held a news conference at a nearby hotel.

Anani has refused several requests from The Star to revisit his past in detail.

Following a sermon Thursday night from Campbell Baptist Church Pastor Donald McKay -- Anani was scheduled to speak but his lecture was cancelled -- he again refused to answer questions.


Anani has said he's 49 years old, which would mean he was born in 1957 or 1958, said Quiggin. If he joined his first militant group when he was 13, it would have been in 1970 or 1971. But the fighting in Lebanon did not begin in earnest until 1975, Quiggin said.

"His story of having made kills shortly after he joined and having made 223 kills overall is preposterous, given the lack of fighting during most of the time period he claims to have been a fighter," Quiggin said. "He also states he left Lebanon to go to Al-Azhar University at the age of 18, which would mean he went to Egypt in 1976. In other words, according to himself, he left Lebanon within a year of when the fighting actually started."

He also pointed to a story on WorldNetDaily in which Walid Shoebat, another ex-terrorist and friend of Anani, also claims to have killed 223 people, two-thirds of them with daggers.

"What a coincidence," Quiggin said.

Quiggin said Anani's description of himself as a Muslim terrorist also "defies logic" based on the time frame.

"Most the groups involved in the fighting in Lebanon were secular and tended to be extreme leftists or Marxists," he said.

Quiggin said religious-based terrorism as part of the warring in Lebanon didn't begin until after 1979, following the revolution in Iran, the Soviet attack on Afghanistan and the attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Sunni Muslim extremists.

Anani's claim to have survived a beheading attempt is also questionable, said Quiggin.

Jon Trott and Mike Hertenstein, can you take a look at these guys?

(Hat tip to Jeffrey Shallit.)


Eamon Knight said...

Walid Shoebat was interviewed in the movie Obsession, which I blogged about.

In the movie, they didn't indicate that Shoebat (or Nonie Darwish, I think) were now Evangelical Christians. It's also downplayed on Shoebat's website.

I'd be fascinated to learn more about Shoebat -- in particular, whether his story can be confirmed or refuted.

Critical Dragon 1177 said...

Jim Lippard,

There's a lot of stuff debunking the claims of people like Walid Shoebat who claim to be ex Muslim, ex terrorists, but are little more than bigots and fraudsters. The anti Islamophobia blog, Loon Watch is a great place to get started.

They've done story after story refuting his claims.

Loon Watch Archive : Walid Shoebat

CNN also recently did a story exposing Shoebat for the fraud that he is. People should be very skeptical of people like him.

Walid Shoebat Exposed Part 1 - Anderson Cooper 360

Walid Shoebat Exposed Part 2

Critical Dragon 1177 said...

Eamon Knight,

You might want to also check out some my links in my previous comment. They go a long towards answering all your questions about Shoebat.