Rapport, Connection and Thanksgiving

Tuesday

In the United States, almost everyone is anticipating a Thanksgiving feast later this week. Most people will spend the day with their family. For many of us, our families have been the most difficult people to educate about Islam, and it is a painful fact that in many ways some of our own family members are "aiding and abetting" the enemy (without knowing it, of course).

Family get-togethers on Thanksgiving (or any holiday) may seem like a good opportunity to make your case, but I caution you against it. First of all, talking politics in those circumstances can easily ruin the event for everyone. And an argument certainly will. Second, persuading someone in a group situation is much more difficult than one-on-one (unless most of the people there are on your side of the argument). And third, many of your fellow infidels may be drinking alcohol, and that doesn't help with good listening or clear thinking.

The family gathering can, however, help our cause. You can use the occasion to observe and gain rapport. I suggest you focus this Thanksgiving on one person. Who is the most likely to be open to understanding Islam who will be attending the feast? Who is the most undecided? Pick one person.

During your family occasion, try to discover which representational system the person favors (click here if you don't know what that means).

And second, use your body to gain and maintain rapport throughout the day with everyone there, especially the person you picked (click here to find out how to do that). I suggest you do this at family gatherings of any kind.

These things will set you up beautifully for future one-on-one conversations with the person — conversations where you'll have a good chance of bringing them to a new understanding of Islam. In many ways, your task is half done when you are in strong rapport. Sometimes taking your focus off convincing and persuading can make you more convincing and persuasive. Sometimes not approaching something directly improves your ability.

I have seen a demonstration that perfectly illustrates this principle. In fact, I've done the demonstration myself several times after seeing it in a seminar. Here's how it goes: I toss something to someone, and they miss it. And they say something like, "I'm terrible at catching." So I tell them I'm going to test something. "I'm going to toss you this ball," I say, "but this time don't try to catch it. Instead, I want you to tell me which way the ball is spinning." Then I toss the ball, and to their great surprise, they catch it easily.

How does this work? They take their attention off trying to catch the ball, and instead pay close attention to the ball itself, and their body responds naturally and easily and catches it.

In the same way, if you take your attention off making people believe you, and instead pay close attention to their favored representational system and pay close attention to their body posture and match it, you have a good chance of making them believe you — easily and naturally — without even trying.

These two tasks are not time-consuming, difficult, upsetting, or conflict-creating. You can do them both and still fully enjoy the day too. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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A Constructive Argument About Islam

Monday

An ex-Muslim atheist and an intellectual atheist argue about the connection between Islam's written ideology and the behaviors of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, etc. Are these groups merely following the Islamic texts to the letter? Or are they twisting and distorting Islamic teachings to justify their lust for power or horror?

This is a lively discussion between two people who are at odds with each other for most of the argument, and yet conduct themselves without yelling or name calling. This is a three hour conversation, but worth watching.

Like most people you talk to, the host of this show objects to the idea that Islamic doctrine is any worse than other religions, and he brings up pretty much every objection possible, and argues them vigorously. They are all answered sanely and articulately by Sam Harris.

Harris makes so many good points and uses so many good examples that this interview is worthy of not just watching, but studying. Check it out on InquiryIntoIslam.com here:

Sam Harris and Cenk Uygur Clear the Air on Religious Violence and Islam

This is also a great video to share with your atheist and agnostic friends. They may listen to Sam Harris discussing Islam when they might not listen to a Christian or Jew discussing Islam. They are likely to consider Harris a more credible source of information about religion because he hasn't "picked a side" — he hasn't chosen a favorite religion — so he has no ax to grind in that sense. He's a neutral and impartial evaluator of religions, and he has studied most of them. His educated conclusion is that Islam is a more dangerous ideology than any other mainstream religion.

Share this video and let Sam Harris enlighten your non-religious friends and family.

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Embedding a Fact Within Another Story

I was talking with a friend the other day. I've talked to him before about Islam, but he's one of those people who tries to find some way of thinking about it so he doesn't have to think about it anymore. Things like "it is only the extremists, and our security forces will take care of them." Or "most Muslims don't believe that stuff, so we can all just get along. After all, there are extremists in every religion, and there's no good reason to pick on Islam."

I've disabused him of most of these ideas in previous conversations, but he still holds out hope that he can go on about his life without having to think about something as terrifying as, "The core doctrines of Islam are imperialistic, supremacist, and violent toward non-Muslims."

Anyway, I thought of a way to sink a single, solid fact into his brain without him rejecting it. I embedded the fact in a story about something else. It was like putting medicine into a piece of meat and feeding it to your dog. He never knew it happened.

I said, "It's amazing — you can find a book on anything. Last night I was looking for a book on Winston Churchill. I've heard that he read Mein Kampf when it was first published, and as he saw Hitler rising to power, Churchill was trying to tell people, 'I've read his book, and he poses a danger to Britain, and something should be done to stop him,' but people didn't like this message, so they ignored him."

My friend said, "I've heard about that."

I said, "I think they even expelled him from Parliament.

He looked surprised. "Really?"

"Well, I don't know. But I'm about to find out. I found two books on just that period in Winston Churchill's life last night and I ordered one of them. I'll let you know. I thought of trying to find a book on it when I heard about a Dutch politician who was trying to get the Koran banned in the Netherlands. Mein Kampf is already banned in the Netherlands, and has been banned for a long time, because of the Jew hatred in the book, and this Dutch politician said someone had counted it up and discovered that there's more Jew hatred in the Koran than in Mein Kampf!"

That was the single solid fact I wanted to sink into his brain.

I went on, "And of course, everybody freaked out when he said that."

"I'll bet they did," he nodded.

"But I'm interested in what happens when you try to tell someone something they really don't want to believe," I said. "Because eventually, of course, once it became painfully clear to everyone that Hitler was, in fact, a real threat to Britain, they went back to Churchill because he was the one who was right all along."

I was on a roll, so I just kept talking, like I sometimes do. "Did you ever read the book by Elie Wiesel? It's called Night."

"I think I've heard of it," he said, "but I haven't read it."

"It's Elie Wiesel's story. He lived in a remote village in Hungary, and one day the police showed up and said all foreign Jews had to leave. They ushered them onto a train and away they went. One of the men escaped and came back to the village to tell a horrifying tale. All the foreign Jews had been taken across the border into Poland, and then taken out into the woods and shot. This dude had taken months to get back to the village to warn them about what was happening. And nobody listened to him. Not one person in his village believed him."

"Yeah, I think I've heard about this story," he said thoughtfully.

"It's a powerful little book," I said, "but that's only the first part. Wiesel was a young teenager when this happened. His story goes on. The Germans eventually came to take all the Jews, and the whole town was packing up their belongings and very distressed about what was happening when the foreign Jew poked his head in the Wiesel home and shouted angrily, 'I told you!' He warned them in time to get away. If the Wiesels had believed him, they could have gotten out of the country in time. But nobody wanted to believe him."

"Well," said my friend, "it was pretty unbelievable, what happened."

I could only say, "That's true."

We went on to talk about other things, but that one fact about Jew hatred in the Koran sunk in with no resistance. It is an important enough fact— and a fundamental enough fact — that from now on he will probably see world events through a new lens, especially conflicts between Jews and Muslims.

The principle is simple: A fact is usually accepted with little or no resistance when it is embedded within another message. Think about that when you're sharing what you know about Islam. Think about what fact is important. Pick one. Then think of a way you can embed that fact in an interesting story about something else.

Or think about a story you want to tell and then think of a way to work a good fact into the middle of that story somewhere in a way that doesn't stand out. In other words, embed the fact so the fact itself is not the main point, but is an aside, or an incidental point on the way to saying something else that captures attention.

Let's find ways around our listeners' resistance and get better at getting through. The future of the free world might just depend on it.

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Similarities Between Islam and the Mafia

Saturday

Raymond Ibrahim wrote a three-part series on the similarities between Islam and the mafia. The parallels are striking, and I don't think it's a coincidence. The birthplace of the mafia, Sicily, was the first Italian territory to be conquered by Islam (in the year 827), and it was ruled by Islam for 234 years.

The word "mafia" itself is derived from an Arabic word meaning "aggressive boasting."

Perhaps some Sicilians saw firsthand the deadly effectiveness of the Islamic way of doing things, and adapted the methods to their own goals.

However it happened, the similarities are numerous. Below is a synopsis of Ibrahim's list of parallels. At the end you will find links to the three articles in the series. They are very much worth reading. In fact, they ought to be studied and used in your conversations with people in the same way you use talking about Bushido or Scientology to bypass objections when talking about Islam. Here is Ibrahim's list of similarities:

  1. The leader has absolute authority, is inaccessible, and is greatly feared.
  2. The leader's will is dominant. The subordinates' only job is to follow orders.
  3. The leader gets a "cut" of all the action of his subordinates, but there is still some booty for the subordinates.
  4. The group assassinates enemies.
  5. Each member must be willing to die to defend the group and the leader.
  6. Trying to leave the group is seen as a betrayal and is punishable by death.
  7. Members are required to maintain absolutely loyalty to the group and its leader.
  8. Members are not to trust or associate with non-members of the group.
  9. Association with outsiders and deceiving them is permissible to advance the goals of the group.
  10. The leader or the group will "make you an offer you can't refuse."
  11. They fund their operations with "protection money" gathered from non-members.

Raymond Ibrahim's original three-part series has good examples, quotes, and illustrations for each of the above similarities. Here is the series:

Part 1 – Islam: More ‘Like the Mafia’ than Bill Maher Knows
Part 2 – Loyalty and Enmity: Parallels between Islam and the Mafia
Part 3 – Islam and the Mafia: ‘Making An Offer You Can’t Refuse’

You can share the information above with your friends and family by sending them this article on Inquiry Into Islam: Is There a Connection Between Islam and the Mafia?

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Ask This Simple Question

Friday

Earlier today, after work, I offered to give one of the guys I work with a ride home. When we got in the car and started driving, I said, "Wanna learn something about Islam?" He said, "Sure," so I played an audiobook I was listening to on the way to work: Robert Spencer's Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). It started playing where I left off, in the middle of a chapter.

Let me back up a little. I had good rapport with this guy. We get along well and enjoy each other's company. And I was just goofing around, really. It's not socially appropriate to listen to something like that under those circumstances. So I played it for about 15 seconds and turned it off. But while it was playing, it said something about jizya. I asked him, "Do you know what jizya is? Ever heard if that?"

He said no, of course. I mean, how many people do you know who have any idea what that is?

"It's protection money," I said. "The Middle East used to be almost entirely Christians and Jews. Now it's almost entirely Muslim. Ever wonder how that happened? I mean, some of those countries are 99% Muslim! What happened to all the Jews and Christians? It's partly because of this clever little element in Islamic ideology called 'jizya.' It's written into Islamic law that when Muslims conquer a new area, they're supposed to offer the Christians and Jews the option to continue living as Christians and Jews if they paid a kind of tax, called the 'jizya.' Muslims didn't have to pay this tax. It was referred to by the Muslims as 'protection money.' As long as they paid the jizya, they were allowed to live. If they didn't want to pay the tax, they could either convert to Islam or be killed — whichever they preferred. Many of the Christians and Jews left the country if they could, and many of them paid this heavy jizya tax, but over the centuries, to get out from under the financial burden, many of them converted to Islam."

He seemed interested and surprised by what I was saying, and we didn't have anything else to do while we were driving, so I kept talking: "It's been so illuminating to learn about Islam because all my life, so many things have happened that I couldn't understand. I mean, really, why couldn't Israel and Palestine just work out their issues and get on with their lives? It's been going on since 1948 and shows no sign of changing! Come on, people! What's the holdup? And while I was growing up, I saw hijacked planes and hostages galore in the news. What's the deal? What were they doing? Why were they doing it? I couldn't understand it. I didn't know anything at all about the Islamic ideology."

He said, "It's the same ideology that caused 9/11, isn't it?"

I said yes.

But then he said, "Our invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan really made it worse."

"Well, it's been getting worse since the 1973 oil embargo," I said in a relaxed, off-hand way. "Oil used to be cheap, but when Saudi Arabia and some other oil producers got together to dramatically raise the price of oil, suddenly all these Saudi princes found themselves swimming in money, and since many of them are hardcore follow-the-texts-to-the-letter kind of Muslims, what they did with their wealth was build madrassas all over the world — tens of thousands of madrassas — that teach nothing but the Islamic ideology, which includes hating non-Muslims, the subjugation of women, and the Islamic goal of bringing the whole world under Islamic law. They keep cranking out fanatics and unleashing them onto the world. So, of course, when there is any kind of jihad going on, like in Syria and Iraq now, these guys travel to the action and join the fight. According to the Koran, that's what they're supposed to do."

He seemed kind of shaken by the implications of this. So I changed the subject and we talked about other things for the rest of the trip.

We arrived at his place in good spirits. As I was driving home, I thought about our conversation, which didn't feel like an argument at all, but felt like two people just talking about something interesting and relevant, I was thinking that my original question was a great opener for this kind of conversation. "Have you ever heard of jizya? Do you know what that is?" The question leads naturally to information most people don't know and that would help give them an inside view of the ideology of Islam.

People are more curious about Islam than ever, and more open to finding out. Let's help them learn something valid about Islam's ideology. Ask this simple question to get the conversation started.

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Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on CitizenWarrior.com is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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