I'VE BEEN IMMERSED in reading about Islamic terrorism since September 11th. Up until then I was happily promoting my book (which doesn't have anything to do with terrorism), and speaking to organizations about what happens when you make certain mistakes in the way you think — it can make you feel helpless in situations where you are not actually helpless. And that reduces your ability to succeed at whatever you're trying to do.
Shortly after September 11th, I saw a lot of people feeling helpless about terrorism. So I've been studying the subject and building this web site, and I have finally decided to take my understanding and put the gist of it into one essay on terrorism. Here it is.
Let's begin at the beginning. The man who started the Islamic religion was Mohammad. He received revelations from Allah. The revelations were eventually bound into a book called the Koran (or Qur'an). This is now considered by Muslims everywhere to be the single most important book in their religion.
but isn't Islam about peace?
I have been reading the Koran, and reading a lot of books, both pro and con about the Koran, and my conclusion is: we have been misled. Islam is not exactly a religion of peace like everyone keeps saying it is. But apparently it is twisted and reinterpreted into a religion of peace by most of its followers. Luckily, most human beings are basically good, regardless of what religion they grew up with. I guess I should tell you up front I am not a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim — I'm not a member of any religion or group — and I don't have any vested interest in bashing any of these religions or making them look good. This is an essay on terrorism, and I'm only bringing up religion because the Koran is being used as a manual by the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world.
But you might be wondering — how can so many people say Islam is a peaceful religion? That is a good question, and it has an interesting answer.
Mohammad received his revelations over a period of twenty-three years. His earliest writings preached compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness. As Mohammad grew in power, his revelations changed. They contained more hatred, intolerance, and violence. So the Koran contains conflicting commands. According to Mark Gabriel in his book, Islam And Terrorism, Muslim scholars have figured out a way to handle the contradictions in the Koran. They've decided if two passages contradict each other, the later one is the correct one. I have since confirmed this from other sources.
Muslim scholars explain the many contradictory passages in the Koran by saying that Allah corrected errors as He went along, so of course the later ones should be followed when they contradict earlier passages. Unfortunately, the later passages are the most violent and intolerant.
According to Serge Trifkovic, PhD, the Koran says a Muslim must fight for Islam until the whole world submits to Allah. That is their wording: Submit. Voluntarily or by force. One of the meanings of Islam is peace. Another meaning is submission. If you submit to the will of Allah, you will have peace in your heart; if you get the whole world to submit to the will of Allah, you have peace in the world, according to the Koran.
The only reason we don't all know this already is that there are two groups who are actively promoting a positive impression of Islam. One group is made of genuinely good people who follow the commands to be tolerant and forgiving and peaceful. They want others to know the good things about Islam. They try to ignore or explain away the perfectly clear commands to "kill unbelievers wherever you find them." (Read more about the Koran here.)
According to Mark Gabriel, who was an Islamic scholar at the most respected Muslim University in Egypt, the other group who promotes a peaceful image of Islam is doing it for an entirely different reason. They are actively following the plan laid down in the Koran.
Here's the plan: First, where Muslims are a minority, they should build their numbers within the country by converting people (by preaching peace and tolerance) and having lots of babies. Then, as their numbers increase, they should start to prepare for an eventual overthrow of the government. And when the time is right, it is their duty as Muslims to rise up and establish an Islamic state.
Also included in the Koran are instructions for deceiving the unbelievers. So you will hear people who say "Islam is a religion of peace" who themselves are actively working toward the eventual violent takeover of a country.
According to Gabriel, deceiving the enemy is recommended in the Koran. An enemy is defined as a non-Muslim.
This information is not very nice. I hesitate to even share it. But if this is all true, it is enormously important. One thing that seems to lend credence to all this is that as soon as I read this stuff, many things I saw going on in the world started to make some sense for the first time. For example, it becomes clear why some people in Iraq are rebelling against the democratic activities there. Most people in Iraq want a democracy, they want freedom of speech, they want the power to create their own laws, and they want women to have human rights. Of course. They are human beings and want rights and liberties. But this is all incompatible with Islamic Law. So the "true believers" are doing everything they can to prevent a democracy from forming. And they are being supported by other true believers in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Those countries are sending soldiers, weapons, and money. Something similar has happened in many countries that tried to create a democracy.
In other words, the majority of Muslims want democracy and are willing to modify or update their holy book, or at least take it all with a grain of salt. A very intense and dedicated minority want to follow the Koran to the letter and these fundamentalists consider the more moderate Muslims to be traitors. Being a traitors are even worse than nonbelievers.
So the Islamists (as the fundamentalists are now being called) are at war with non-Muslims and with moderate Muslims.
For more information about this, I have selected some books and DVDs I recommend. But I'd like to add another recommendation: Read the Koran. It is not really difficult reading. The version I recommend is An Abridged Koran. Very informative. You can also read the Koran online.
what to do with this information
So now you know: The Koran is very explicit in its instructions to the faithful. Most Muslims try to ignore or explain away the violent and intolerant parts. But a sizable minority wants to fulfill the mission the Koran has given them: Make everyone on earth submit to Sharia law.
What good does it do to know this? The first thing you'll notice is that from now on, you'll hear terrorism news differently. It won't be as confusing as it used to be. It won't be as upsetting. This information allows you to make sense of what you see. And when you understand what you're looking at, you can make better decisions. That's true of your friends and family, too (if they knew this information). So the first thing you can do with this information is share it with others. Explore the links and resources on this blog and share it with others.
That is the most important thing you can do: Learn more and share it with your friends and family. The war against terrorism is a war of ideas and information as much as anything. The terrorists are very effectively manipulating the information we receive, so misleading information is already cluttering our minds.
How do terrorists manipulate the information we receive? In the book, The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism, Stephen Schwartz outlines what Saudi Arabia has done to control politics and the media in the United States. The Wahhabis (a sect of Islam that takes the Koran's teachings literally) is an amazingly wealthy group in Saudi Arabia, and they have opened hundreds of mosques in the United States.
They have also formed The Council On American-Islamic Relations, the American Muslim Council, the American Muslim Alliance, the Islamic Society of North America, and they have infiltrated and are exerting control over the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and the Muslim Students Association. These are powerful lobbying and public relations organizations, providing speakers at rallies, providing "expert commentary" for the media, distributing literature, holding rallies, and influencing American politics.
These organizations influence what information makes it to the airwaves in the United States because they have established themselves with the media as "the voice of Islam in America." They are extremely well-funded by rich Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. And they are well-organized, fully maximizing the freedom of speech and religion we enjoy in the free world. And they are taking advantage of the fact that most Westerners know almost nothing about Islam.
They are infiltrating and influencing everywhere they can. They have the money and manpower and they are effective as long as we don't know what's going on. Up until now, they've been making headway.
These propaganda groups, according to Schwartz, deliberately give us a false impression of Islam. Certain actions by Western governments are vigorously criticized, like deposing the Taliban in Afghanistan. The criticisms are coming from legitimate organizations as far as newspapers and television stations know — organizations that represent the Muslims in America, or so it seems. And their public relations campaign has helped to form a negative public opinion in Western countries of military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Obviously, it was not in the best interests of Islamic terrorism for the Taliban to be taken from power. It was a major setback for those who seek increasing Islamic domination. And the overthrow of Saddam is a prize opportunity to Islamic fundamentalists. Many Muslims with lots of money are focusing their attention on that country, trying to disrupt the forming of a democracy and they will continue to do so for as long as they can.
According to Trifkovic and Gabriel, any Muslim who tries to create a democratic country is a traitor to Islam and deserves to die. I am not exaggerating at all. According to the Koran, any man-made government (a democracy, for example) is not following the laws of Allah. Its laws are not divine — the laws are made by men, so it is sinful and must be destroyed, and any Muslim who tries to create a democracy must be punished by death (for betraying the goals of Allah). So the liberations of Afghanistan and Iraq have been hampered and criticized all along. Did you ever wonder why the Western media seemed so against the invasions when they were happening while public opinion polls showed so many voters were for it? Part of the problem is an already-existing media bias, but the other part is all the Muslim organizations in the U.S. and other democratic countries covertly trying to prevent democracies from forming in the Middle East.
The chapter on this (called Religious Colonialism) in Schwartz's book is well worth reading. Schwartz tells you exactly how the Wahhabis operate within the United States. .
can you really do anything?
What difference will it make to spread the word about the Koran? I think you'll be surprised. First notice what it does for you. You will feel more upset at first to discover such a large and horrible goal in the minds of a lot of fundamentalist Muslims — a goal that seeks to take away human rights and freedoms.
But then you'll start to feel less upset. And you'll be less confused by what seem to be conflicting messages. You will be able to listen with more understanding. When a large number of us are clear about what's going on, our collective decisions will be more appropriate — more fitting with the reality of our situation. When the difficult national decisions need to be made, we will make better decisions. We won't unwittingly support self-defeating policies.
A much broader benefit will result from this. Right now all the genuinely peace-loving Muslims have been promoting peace but also sticking to the idea — publicly — the the Koran is infallible, that it is the absolute word of Allah. That is the heart of the problem. Kids grow up in an atmosphere that gives the Koran absolute authority, and when some of those young men read the whole book, they think, "Hey, we're not following all the commands, and we should," and they go join Osama to fight the unbelievers (as it is commanded in no uncertain terms by Allah). Read more about the incredible power of authority here.
As this information becomes more widely known, more and more Muslims will have the courage to say, "The Koran is not perfect." That will weaken the holy war idea. The same thing happened with Christianity. During the dark ages, the Christian Bible was considered infallible. This made the Crusades and the Inquisition possible. You have to be certain about something before you're willing to torture and kill people. Then came the Reformation. When the general population started looking at the Bible as a collection of stories — some of it good and some of it out of date or whatever — the number of people willing to kill in its name diminished. Now it is a very small minority of Christians.
That needs to happen to Muslims too, and it is ripe to happen. Moderate Muslims are tired of living under the suppression of religious governments and dictators.
It will take courage for Muslims to publicly declare the Koran is not perfect. The Koran provided itself with its own protection, as any good memeplex does. The Koran commands its believers to kill anyone who criticizes the Koran.
As it is now, if the Koran is perfect and it says, "you must follow these teachings to the letter" and it says "make war on all unbelievers until they submit to Islam," can you see how that might be a problem?
Remember I told you that when I first started this web site I was mainly interested in reducing the helplessness people feel in the face of terrorism. That was one of my only areas of expertise. What about you? Do you feel helpless about terrorism? Do you feel you have any influence over world events? Over terrorism? Or do you think you are not important enough to make any difference? Do you think something you do could help reduce terrorism?
If you feel helpless to alter events, you need to have your head examined. By yourself. You need to examine your own head. It isn't very hard to do, and it will not only help you feel empowered to do something about terrorism, it will give you real power and greater effectiveness in the rest of your life too. Start here.
Read what an ex-Muslim wanted the West to know.
Read a review of a DVD called Islam: What The West Needs To Know.
Editor's Note: If you are a peace-loving Muslim and feel offended by the information above and want to enlighten us about the "true" (and entirely peaceful) nature of Islam, please read this: A Message to Peaceful Muslims.