March 22, 2006


Save a Prayer: A novel describes our Islamofascist future: a review of Prayers for the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno (John J. Miller, National Review)

In reading Prayers for the Assassin, it’s important to engage in what Samuel Taylor Coleridge called a “willing suspension of disbelief” — i.e., it’s essential to grant Ferrigno his unbelievable premise that a certain set of circumstances may arise to compel millions of Americans to convert to Islam. Once you allow this, everything else falls into place, because everything else about Ferrigno’s invented world feels utterly believable. If the imagined history that he describes actually were to happen — Ferrigno explains here why it’s not so farfetched — our world might be very much like the one laid out in Prayers for the Assassin.

This, in fact, may be the chief reward of the book: The creation of an alternate reality that abides by a set of internally consistent rules as well as a place that reminds us of what’s at stake in the war on terror. In Ferrigno’s future, the Superbowl is played at Khomeini Stadium, cab drivers have Osama and Zarqawi emblems dangling from their rearview mirrors, LAX is called Bin Laden International, Jews try to escape to Canada on a 21st-century version of the Underground Railroad, Disneyland is a slum overtaken by prostitutes, and radical Muslims have tried to blow up Mt. Rushmore just as the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. The clever blend of Islamic radicalism with American culture results in passages such as this:

Rakkim turned the page of the magazine. There was a full-page ad for the Palestine Adventures outside San Francisco, happy families waving to the camera, the kids in plastic suicide-belts, hoisting AK-47s to the sky. “You ever been to Palestine Adventures?”

Ferrigno has a sense of humor that is both black and wry: San Francisco, nicknamed “Sharia City,” has become a magnet for radicals. “They behead homosexuals at the Civic Center every week,” explains one character. A quick description of the Golden Gate Bridge (“renamed for an Afghan war lord”) is especially macabre.

All the while, Ferrigno’s future is a place full of complexity: The bad guys are Muslims, but so are the good guys. And even at the core of the new Islamic republic, there’s a grudging admiration for certain aspects of the non-Muslim world. As one character comments, “Those peckerwoods in the Bible Belt are black-hearted infidels and eaters of swine, but you have to admit, they know how to make soda pop.” That line is a joke, but one that’s pregnant with meaning.

Abdul Rahman and other heroes among us (Robert Ferrigno, 3/22/06)
One nation, under Allah: an interview with Robert Ferrigno: Orrin Judd interviews Robert Ferrigno, author of Prayers for the Assassin, a novel about the near future which posits a world where much of the United States has become an Islamic state (Orrin C. Judd, 3/20/06, Enter Stage Right)

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2006 12:04 PM

You seem to prefer this society to our current one.

Posted by: control group at March 22, 2006 7:40 PM

It would certainly improve San Francisco....

Posted by: oj at March 22, 2006 7:52 PM

In the book, San Francisco has been taken over by the most retrograde of the Mullahs, who have decorated the Golden Gate Bridge with the heads of executed homosexuals. You can't honestly consider that an improvement.

Posted by: ted welter at March 22, 2006 9:34 PM

Ever read And the Played On? They've decorated the place with their own corpses. Our tolerance has been been more murderous than Puritan intolerance is.

Posted by: oj at March 22, 2006 10:13 PM


You seem to be all for reform up to a point. Executing militant homosexuals is like executing misbehaving children. If they don't grow up they will kill themselves. The social acceptance of radical, mindless egalitarianism is the problem. Multi-culturalism, relativism are symptoms of the same disease.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at March 23, 2006 8:45 AM

Yes, if you Reform past the point of morality you aren't reforming you're annihilating. Egalitarianism is to economics as tolerance is to morality. That's why all egalitarian societies are secular/rationalist and amoral.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2006 9:01 AM

And eventually morph into tyrannies.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at March 23, 2006 9:13 AM



Posted by: oj at March 23, 2006 9:21 AM

"They've decorated the place with their own corpses."

Sorry but if you kill someone about to commit suicide,you've still committed murder.

Posted by: control group at March 23, 2006 6:18 PM

Yes, but if you simply punish someone's moral transgressions you haven't.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2006 6:35 PM