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PC Free Zone

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On the face of it, conversion to Islam would appear to provide a painless escape device for any hostage who happens to fall into fundamentalist terrorist hands. After all, once free, the hostage can always revert to his real faith or non-faith. It is hard to blame the two Fox News journalists, the American Steve Centanni, 60, and the New Zealander, Olaf Wiig, 36, for taking that path on to buy their way out of an uncertain fate at the hands of Palestinian terrorists – especially as they later reported they were forced to make the gesture at gunpoint.

And, indeed the two journalists were released from 13 days of captivity in Gaza three hours after announcing their conversion on a new videotape released by the kidnappers in Gaza.

Relief over the two journalists’ coming safely out of their ordeal is quite apart from considerations of the consequences for the war on terrorism. It must be said that the Palestinian kidnappers also walked away without suffering any harm and can keep on snatching victims without fear – exactly as the same terrorist gang got away with murdering three Americans in Gaza in 2003. In fact, the prime minister Ismail Haniya, who belongs to an Islamist terror group, was allowed to take credit for the release after winning a face saver in the form of the conversions and an anti-American diatribe.

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