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-NCIS: Forced Reconversion or Death–another Look at the Recent ‘Faith’ Story Line

by Dr. D ~ December 19th, 2009

image On Wednesday I wrote about how in this weeks story lines the writers of NCIS and particularly NCIS LA had turned the Major Hasan FT. Hood story on its ear. In rehashing over the NCIS episode -“Faith” (12/15) -in particular,  I realize that I had missed an obvious Muslim tradition within the story that was even more offensively reversed by the writers—forced reconversion or death.

In this episode an American military family was shown to be guilty of trying to force their Muslim convert son/brother to drop Islam. In the end it turned out to be his own brother who had killed the Muslim officer because he had ‘dishonored’ the family with his conversion to Islam and his refusal to recant.

I totally missed the irony of this story line.

In Muslim countries throughout the Middle East and elsewhere when family members convert from Islam to Christianity (or any other religion)  it is considered a blot on family honor and the person it given the choice to reconvert to Islam or be killed. Hundreds of honor killings are carried out in the name of Islam every year, many for the ‘crime’ of conversion.

Even in the West, particularly in the UK, Muslim families have occasionally carried out different types of ‘honor killings’.  This is a dilemma that many Muslim families face in Western countries. Their Muslim traditions sometimes put them at odds with the culture and the laws of the country. I have written about this previously in the case of Rifqa Bary who ran away from her Muslim family with concerns for her life after she converted to Christianity.

I guess the PC writers of this NCIS episode are trying to get us to look upon the Muslim ‘Honor’ killings and forced reconversions as no different than what any regular American family might participate in on the flip side.

This is where the the story line breaks down and really doesn’t make all that much since. It is hard to conceive of an American or Christian family killing off one of their family members because they converted to Islam, who supposedly ‘dishonored’ the family in the process, and refused to reconvert back to whatever. There is no cultural or religious tradition or reason for that type of response in America. This is a Muslim tradition period.

It has never happened and I submit to you that it never will.

There is no Christian precedence for ‘honor’ killing and there are no Christian leaders or pastors who would support any kind of forced ‘reconversion’. However, in spite of the PC intensions of the NCIS writers, honor killings and forced reconversions continue to be a regular part of Islam and are even legally proscribed in many Muslim countries.            *Top

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5 Responses to -NCIS: Forced Reconversion or Death–another Look at the Recent ‘Faith’ Story Line

  1. Rob

    Uhh…it did happen. In October of 2008 in Cairo Egypt. The sentencing of the brother and uncle who committed the crime was reported in Reuters here:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5AE0VZ20091115

    Perhaps this is where the writers got the idea from. While it is only a single case, it does show that it is not impossible.

  2. Dr. D

    Thanks Rob,
    But if you read my comments carefully I was talking about America and a Christian context in this country. That was the NCIS context. So my observation still substantially stands.

    However, let’s take your example. In Egypt honor killing is an accepted part of the dominant Muslim culture both there and throughout the Middle East. Why? Because it is an accepted part of the dominant Muslim faith and Mullahs and Muslim authorities actually condone and prescribe it.

    These Egyptian Christians apparently followed through with an honor killing against a Muslim convert relative yet such behavior is actually against the Christian faith and no Priest or Christian leader even in the Middle East would ever condone it.

    It stands as a revolting abhorrent exception that no Christian anywhere can accept or support.

  3. Rob

    Dr. D

    I can understand how social influences predominate in the Middle East can make a difference in this case. I misunderstood your intent when you state that it has not happened. I did not catch that you meant that it has not happened in America.

    However, I respectfully disagree with that. I view it as just another hate crime. In my mind, it does not matter if it is a difference of religion or a difference of race, it boils down to prejudice and bigotry just the same. I am sure that you could dig up at least one similar case that occurred in the deep South where the “honor killing” was due to a white woman running off with a black man. There is definitely no shortage of accounts of black men being lynched for the mere suspicion of becoming involved with a white woman. I would dare say that every white man involved in such a lynching would call themselves Christian and attended church every Sunday.

    In fact, that was a basic theme in the 1956 John Wayne movie “The Searchers”, so the concept is not foreign. The main character Ethan, played by Wayne, has a niece that is taken as a child by Comanches and when he finds her years later she has married the chief. He states, I believe several times, in the film that he would rather kill her than leave her living with the Indians. While I don’t recall if it is ever mentioned in movie what religious faith John Wayne’s character belongs to. I think that being a white male in the South just after the Civil War makes him being Christian a safe bet.

    I do not intend to use racial based “honor killings” as a red herring here. I only bring it up to show the similarity. In both cases one family member wants to kill based on some perceived disgrace to their family due to actions by another family member that are perceived as being outside the boundaries as acceptable behavior.

    I am sorry, but I just don’t find the NCIS story as hard to believe as you do. I find it improbable, but not impossible. Also, please understand that I am not saying that it would be condoned by any Christian community or authority, as murder for any reason would not be. Nor would I say that there is any precedent that would indicate a tradition of it, culturally or religiously, in America. I view it as the action of single misguided individual acting on their own accord. Which is exactly how it was portrayed on the NCIS episode.

    Were the writers trying to be politically correct with the story? Perhaps. I tried not to read that much into it. I personally believe that they attempted to write a story that would leave the audience saying “wow, I didn’t see that coming”. Like any good suspenseful mystery that keeps you guessing until the last minute. In that respect I think it was poorly executed. I was pretty sure the bother did it when he walked in the door. To me, the best part of that episode was the sub plot involving Gibbs’ father.

    I will say that the main plot of a Christian killing a Muslim being used as a Christmas episode was in very bad taste though. Even if we disagree on the plausibility of such an event occurring and if the writers were pushing a PC agenda, that is something that I think we can at least both agree on. It was very bad taste indeed.

  4. Dr. D

    Rob,
    Good response, thanks for taking the time to comment further. I disagree with your racial example though but totally agree that the sub plot with Gibbs’ father was the best part and the main plot rather unfortunate during the Christmas season in particular.
    Blessings, and Happy New year.

  5. Rob

    Dr D,

    Thank you for taking the time to read my perspective on the issue. I am glad that we can agree on some things while we politely disagree on others.

    God Bless and Happy New Year to you and family as well.

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