Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Adam Gadahn: Christianity, Music And Terrorism

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Adam Gadahn, a homegrown Muslim terrorist and spokesman for al Qaeda, released another video on the Internet this past Friday, calling on Muslims living in America to carry out deadly one-man terrorist acts against Americans.

ABC News reported that Gadahn's video, called "Do Not Rely On Others, Take The Task Upon Yourself," was interspersed with messages from himself, other terrorists and even some older messages from Osama bin Laden.

He urged Muslims to pursue attacks on Americans with whatever means available and not to worry about being captured because many who have been, are "Now back home with their families or back on the front lines, fighting the enemy."

ABC says he is currently considered al Qaeda's leading media voice.

Back in November, 2004, to their credit, ABC identified "Azzam the American," a known terrorist, as Adam Gadahn.

But who is Adam Gadahn and what is his background? And did you know he was born here in the Northwest?

Christianity, Music, Islam---and terrorism: An American Tragedy.

Adam Gadahn was born in Oregon, September 1, 1978. He was born Adam Pearlman, son of 1970's psychedelic rocker, Phil Pearlman.

Phil was fairly well known in LA during the 70's. I was in the church in North Hollywood and was aware of him. He was deeply involved in the counter culture movement at U.C. Irvine and among other things released probably his most successful album titled, "Relatively Clean Rivers" in which he dreamed that Arabs and Jews would get together and "melt their weapons into sprinklers, tractors and hoes."

Phil's father, Adam's paternal grandfather, Dr. Carl Pearlman, was a prominent urologist in LA and served on the Board of Directors of The Anti-Defamation League. He, of course, was Jewish.

Adam's paternal grandmother, Agnes Branch Pearlman, was a Christian, an editor of a genealogical publication and a philanthropist.

Prior to Adam's birth, his parents Phil and Jennifer became Christians as a result of Phil picking up a Bible someone had left behind on the beach.

After Adam's birth, the Pearlman's changed their name to "Gadahn" after the biblical warrior Gideon.

Again living in California, most of Adam's growing up was on a 40-acre farm outside LA. They lived very close to the earth---very basic, even for a time living without electricity or running water.

During these growing up years Adam became involved, deeply involved, in "death metal" music, contacting musicians and fans alike---immersing himself in its culture. Death metal is perverse, with groups such as Obituary, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Possessed and worse. I would not print most of their lyrics.

In 1993, Adam formed his own one-man band, calling it "Aphasia" and began contributing to the Death Metal magazine "Xenocide".

In 1995, he moved in with his grandparents in Santa Anna, rejected Christianity, and began studying in a mosque in Orange County and later that year converted to Sunni Islam.

He later told the New Yorker (2007) that his music had caused him to be "estranged from his family" and expressed regret.

Upon becoming a Muslim, he denounced the death metal music.

His Imam, Muzammil Siddigi, later said, "I never thought he would go to that level." Yet Siddiqi advocates the conversion of America to Islam through "gradual change" and gradual implementation of Islam's Shariah Law.

There's more in this saga, but you can see how this tragedy unfolded in one kid's life. It gives us much to think about. Particularly we Christians.

Although he denounced the music, many who have studied his conversion feel the music played a very important role in what he became.

A personal Experience:

Our church in North Hollywood had a number of parking lots because it had a large congregation. I usually parked in the lot across Burbank Blvd. from the main entrance to the church building.

I pulled into my spot on a Monday morning and noticed two legs with jeans and sandals sticking out from under the shrubs alongside the lot. At first I thought some one had merely fallen or had been drinking or doing drugs and had passed out. A closer look revealed that the person was a teenager and appeared to be dead.

The North Hollywood police confirmed that the young man was probably a teenager and was dead. The only identification found on the body was a tape (this was before CD's) of the music group Black Sabbath and a piece of notebook paper with the question scrawled on it, "Who am I?" about a dozen times.

Forensics were not then what they are today. Two weeks later, the police were still unable to identify the teenager. When I called, they simply referred to him as the "Black Sabbath" kid.

I never knew who he was---and neither did he.

Music and entertainment in general is defining our culture in ways that are destructive. Parents must be aware of what and to whom their kids are listening.

Kids ask the question "who am I?" in a thousand different ways, searching for meaning in their lives. There is one right answer. "You are a human being created by a God who loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. And to know the Bible is to know the plan and the God who gave it."

Parents, please ... Be Diligent. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Engaged.

Gary Randall

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