The Magazine

Assassins' Trilogy

Life and death in the Islamic Republic of America.

May 26, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 35 • By JOEL SCHWARTZ
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The Islamic republic is predictably most dangerous for women and Jews. Women who attempt to flee from their fathers or husbands fall prey to bounty hunters who forcibly seek to return them to their homes. As for Jews, the moderate chief of state security insisted in the early years of the republic "that any Jews who converted to Islam must be spared. .  .  . [He] had been able to insure the lives of the converts, but no one had been able to insure their treatment." Jewish converts--and, for that matter, Catholics--suffer considerable discrimination.

The Islamic republic is, of course, far less free than America today. The First Amendment was "gutted, .  .  . and the former protection of the others [in the Bill of Rights] limited." In particular, the Second Amendment was completely eliminated: "No guns allowed, not for private citizens." Furthermore, the orderly transfer of political power that we take for granted has also disappeared. The Islamic republic witnesses frequent political assassinations.

In addition, the Islamic regime is economically and technologically backward. In the words of a minor character, "We used to lead the world in science and technology. Hard to believe, isn't it? Now, every year we have fewer graduates in engineering and mathematics. Our manufacturing plants are outdated, our farm productivity falling, and patent applications are only forty percent of what they were in the old regime."

In sum, Ferrigno's novels offer a depressing contrast between the bad old days and the bad new days. America before the Islamic takeover was a "country without shame," whereas America after the takeover is a country in which

people are scared. Afraid they're going to do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, think the wrong thing. Yes, the Americans [before the takeover] were drunk on freedom. Yes, they lacked shame, but they did glorious things too with that freedom. Breakthroughs in science and medicine. Inquiries into the mysteries of the universe. Wonderful things.

It will be interesting to see if, in the trilogy's concluding novel, a regime can be created in which Americans again feel appropriate shame but not inappropriate fear. In that context it is worth pointing to two hints dropped in Sins. Much of Sins concerns a quest for something that is hidden in the Bible Belt; at one point the search is said to be for "the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, the most sacred documents of the former regime." Furthermore, Sins implies that the final novel will explore the efforts of people in the Islamic republic and the Bible Belt to put "aside their differences for one goal. Reunification."

Will the sectarian Muslim and Christian polities reunite on some nonsectarian basis? If so, will the sacred documents of the former regime be rediscovered? Stay tuned; we should find out next year.

Joel Schwartz is an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.