UPDATE 12/12/05: A new article by Daniel Pipes leads me to make this clarification: I do not know the quality of the information I was given by these sources. This has all been an extremely puzzling experience. I was approached with this evidence; I did not seek it out. It was confirmed by several parties. I presented it in good faith without ever saying (as some have charged) that it was necessarily accurate or true. But the circulation of this story -- before and after I got it -- explains why the Copts were so angry with Muslims in New Jersey at the time. As far as I know, the police examined this evidence and found it wanting. I do not know what the motives were of the friends of the Armanious family who told it to me and insisted on it, and continued to do so after the two thugs were arrested who were charged with this crime. I still have many unanswered questions. But I have nothing to go on.
A close friend of Hossam Armanious, the Coptic Christian who was brutally murdered in New Jersey along with his family, is the source of this information which comes to you exclusively from Jihad Watch:
The Armanious family had inspired several Muslims to convert to Christianity — or thought they had. These converts were actually practicing taqiyya, or religious deception, pretending to be friends of these Christians in order to strengthen themselves against them, as in Qur'an 3:28: "Let believers not make friends with infidels in preference to the faithful -- he that does this has nothing to hope for from Allah -- except in self-defense."
Of course, the family, not suspecting the deception, was happy to see the "converted" men and willingly let them in to their home. That's why there was no sign of forced entry. Then the "converted" Muslims did their grisly work.
Many Copts are regarding the murders as a warning to the Coptic community as a whole, related to the increasing strife between Copts and Muslims in Egypt and the Copts' energetic efforts in America to get the truth out about the differences between Middle Eastern Christians and Muslims -- differences that the Islamic lobby, with its disingenuous talk of "Arab Americans," routinely glosses over and hopes you don't notice. The Copts, to their immense credit, have been particularly outspoken among Middle Eastern Christians about Muslim oppression. And yes, many are active on Pal Talk debating Muslims.
The nature of the warning? The murders send a signal from the Muslims to the Copts: we are going to behave here the same way we behaved in Egypt, and the First Amendment and American law enforcement will not protect you. Don't expect America to keep you safe from us. The oppression and harassment you thought you had left behind in Egypt has now come to you.
This means, if Armanious's friend is correct, that this is indeed America's Theo van Gogh murder: indication that all Muslims in the nation do not, as we are supposed to believe, unanimously accept the parameters of American pluralism. That at least some are willing to enforce Sharia penalties right here, right now.
But there are so many nominees for the Walter Duranty prize this time that most Americans have no clue of what's going on. Duranty, of course, was the New York Times reporter who knowingly covered up information about the genocidal famine Stalin caused and fueled in Ukraine, and won a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts. The Pinch Sulzberger Times of these dark days should dedicate the whole paper to Duranty's honor, and put his picture on the front page right next to "All the News That's Fit to Print."