A videotape has been released by al Quaeda called “AnInvitation to Islam” which invites Westerners to convert toIslam, but cautions that they should hurry. Adam Gadahn,formerly Adam Pearlman of Orange County, Califonia, urgesconversion to Islam but then warns, “Decide today, becausetoday could be your last day.”

This relates to the idea, expressed by Salafi Muslims, whocontrol al Qaeda, that non-believers should first begiven a chance to convert, then attacked if they refuse todo so.Forced conversion after conquest was part of both Muslim and Christian expansion in the Middle Ages, and themessage suggests that, if an attack is immiment, it couldcause great loss of life and result in a situation whereforced conversion of the survivors would again be possible.

There is only one circumstance in which this could be true:if al Qaeda has managed to mine western cities with weaponsof mass destruction and intends to set one or more off, thenuse the others to hold the western world to ransom.

The original aim of al Qaeda (the Foundation) was to endwestern influence in Muslim countries, but in recent yearsthe continuing penetration of western culture into theMuslim world has convinced al Qaeda leaders that the onlyway to save Islam in its pure form is to stop the flow ofinfluence at its source, not to terrorize the west intowithdrawing. This is because of the appeal of westernculture and the fact that young Muslims continue to abandontraditional ways in much greater numbers than those whoembrace Salafism, known in the west as Wahabbism.

Little effort has been made in the west to prevent themining of cities with nuclear weapons. Such weapons wouldnot be exotic “suitcase nukes,” but primitive weapons hiddenin buildings. US Homeland Security has been notoriously laxaboutintercepting nuclear material at the country’s borders, andonly fiveyears after 911 did it install censors in the highlyvulnerable Los Angeles port, meaning that al Qaeda has hadall that time to import such materials into the country.

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