A Different Kind of Ice Cream

by baldilocks

Originally posted November 23, 2009. Edited.

There use to be a mosque near my home, but the adherents have since move their digs to Crenshaw Boulevard.

The congregants were all black, but I’m not sure if they were Black Muslims (Explanation: back in the day, the distinction “Black Muslim” indicated that the persons under discussion belonged to the Nation of Islam and therefore subscribed to the ideology set forth by Elijah Muhammad—an ideology considered an anathema to other Muslims.  These days, the term merely means a Muslim who is black, that is, they may be NOI adherents or they may not be. I make the distinction to indicate that I did not see anything other than black people coming and going from that mosque, but that’s not a surprising thing in South Central Los Angeles and, therefore, no indication of whether the mosque belonged to NOI or not.)

A several years ago, something occurred that I’ve thought about every now and then, especially after reading about terror attacks.  At midday, I was in the back of the house in my office—blogging, of course.  At some point, a noise entered my consciousness.  It was a voice, a tinned one and, as I listened I became aware of three things: that the voice was male, that it was coming out of a bullhorn and that it was repeating the same phrase over and over again.  However, I could not make out the words at first.

As the volume decreased, I originally thought that the origin of the voice had moved on.  But it had only gone around the block a few times.  Finally, the origin of the voice came back around on my street and, apparently, the driver decided to park for a few minutes almost directly in front of my house. The unintelligible phrase was being repeated once more.  And once again.

Finally I got up from in front of my computer, went to the front of the house, peered through the blinds of the large picture window in the living room and…froze.

The voice was coming from speakers attached to the type of truck that is sometimes used by ice cream vendors. The truck was spotlessly clean and gleaming white except for the design on the side: the huge blood-red star-and-crescent symbol of Islam.

The occupant had been exhorting the residents of this neighborhood using a two-sentence phrase, most of which I have blocked out of my memory.  But I do remember one part and, really, it’s the only relevant part.  The occupant was advising us to…

“Embrace Islam.”

By the time I gained the presence of mind to grab a camera, the gleaming white truck had moved on.  I haven’t seen it since.

From the time that it came to light the Major Nidal Malik Hasan basically warned the FBI and the Army of what he was–if not of what he was about to do [at Fort Hood in 2009]—I’ve been thinking of that “ice cream” truck and what that particular vendor was selling.  Aren’t jihadis required to warn their infidel foes and invite them to convert before any attack?

“Embrace Islam,” he said.  Left unspoken was the alternative.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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baldilocks