Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty are the merged successors to radio stations of the same name begun after World War II for the purpose of telling the other side of the story in the Eastern Bloc, where total government control of all media was the rule. Although funded originally by the CIA, the officers in charge generally had the good sense to understand that credibility and truth are joined at the hip.
Today, a Broadcasting Board of Governors selected in the U.S. oversees RFE/RL and they are funded by charitable donations and direct appropriations from Congress. They are now headquartered in Prague, the Czech Republic, and they broadcast in languages of the countries where there is no free press and, in those countries, they still contend with jamming as if the Cold War never ended.
Their motto is “Free Media in Unfree Societies.” Many of those “unfree societies” have radical Islamic insurgency movements. RFE/RL programs are in Arabic, Chechen, Persian and the languages of virtually all of the former Soviet Republics known in the U.S., when they are known at all, as “the ‘stans.”
All of this is to explain how RFE/RL could get an interview with a Tadjik militant fighting in Syria for the Islamic State. If the government of Tajikistan hates RFE/RL enough to jam them, the thinking goes, they must be all right. A story based on that interview appeared in the RFE/RL blog, Under the Black Flag, which follows news of the Islamic State.
On January 30, Under the Black Flag reported on an interview with an Islamic State fighter who has more than one name, something often seen in that part of the world. Nurat Nazarov, or Abu Kholidi Kulobi, told the radio station that he is fighting to spread Islamic law around the world. The entire world population, he asserted, will be subjugated to the caliphate the Islamic Republic claims to have reestablished.
He then plunged into a digression about American Indians for no particular reason that was apparent from the blog post. Without being asked anything about Indians, he delivered himself of this:
Even the [Native Americans] will have to live under Shari’a. We will take them tubeteikas [Central Asian caps, worn in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan], we will build mosques for them, and we will live with them according to the laws of Allah.
Indians have gotten an increasing amount of attention from Islam of late. Just this last November, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an of Turkey was ridiculed in these pages and elsewhere for claiming the Taino people in the Caribbean discovered a Muslim before they discovered Columbus.
Faced with ridicule at home and abroad, Erdo?an doubled down on his revision of history.
A quick check of the Internet for evidence that Islam is following Christianity into Indian country turned up several notices of a man who introduces himself as follows:
I am a Cherokee Blackfoot American Indian who is Muslim. I am known as Eagle Sun Walker. I serve as a Pipe Carrier Warrior for the Northeastern Band of Cherokee Indians in New York City.
We’ve made the decision not to call him by his other name, but that name is neither Cherokee nor Siksika. “Pipe Carrier Warrior” is not an office in the Cherokee Nation nor did that office exist before the Cherokee Constitution declared a republic.
The Pipe Carrier Warrior claims that “Tallahassee” is an “Islamic” word that means, “Allah will deliver you.” The ignorant people who live there believe “Islamic” is not a language and “Tallahassee” comes from a Creek dialect.
It’s either an honor or an embarrassment that American Indians would be suddenly getting so much attention from Islam, but the attention Mr. Nazarov or Kulobi describes is a bit different from just rewriting history. It sounds like aggression, conversation by force.
Somebody should tell him that American Indians have been there, had that done to them, and have forced conversion t-shirt collections second to none in the world. It’s not likely that Indians would go quietly into a situation where RFE/RL are forced to broadcast in the indigenous languages of the Americas.