How to Steer Conversations to the Subjects of Jihad and Sharia


TO INFLUENCE SOMEONE about Islam, you have to talking about Islam. Of course, jihad isn't a normal topic for casual conversations. So if you want to talk about Islam, you're going to have to deliberately bring it up most of the time. But how?

The easiest and most natural way is to mention something you just learned.

But let me backtrack a moment. You should not try to influence anyone until you know what you're talking about. I'm sure you know that already. But what this means is that you're always learning something.

When you're reading (or watching a DVD or listening to an audiobook), be on the lookout for something really unusual or interesting or surprising. Those little nuggets are precious. When you find one, you've got a ticket into a good conversation.

Then it's as easy as, "I was reading a book last night and I learned something really surprising." Of course, the person you're talking to will be curious. You've opened their mind.

Share the nugget. Let them respond. If they have an opinion about it, listen to them thoughtfully. Don't immediately argue with them, even if they say something stupid. That doesn't help the educational process. But if what they say reminds you of something else you've learned that seems fitting and interesting, tell them about it.

I've used this "technique," if we can call it that, hundreds of times, and it works every time. It gets the conversation on the subject of terrorism, and gives us fellow teammates (members of our country) a chance to talk about something important that affects all of us. And it gives me a chance to share vital information.

The most important part of the whole process is to find those nuggets when you're reading, and to remind yourself of it a few times, so you'll remember it.

It's important to remember the details of the nugget. Have you ever heard someone trying to tell a joke, but they can't remember quite how it goes? The joke is spoiled, isn't it? The same principle applies here. The details help make your nugget interesting and persuasive. The lack of details makes it fall flat.

When you've found a good nugget, you'll be talking to several people over the next few days who haven't heard it, and you can tell each one of them about it, and your delivery will improve every time you tell it.

This is a simple way to make a difference. You're already shooting the breeze with people, making small talk. Here's a way to make it count.

One of the most important tasks that needs to be done to defeat terrorism is the education of our teammates. This can best be done in person and face-to-face. Your participation is vital. We need every soldier we can muster. Defeating the third jihad is in large part a war of memes and you are on the front lines.

Look for those interesting and surprising tidbits. Go over them a couple times. Then bring it up with people and let the conversation go where it will.

A good primer on creating interesting conversations is How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: The Secrets of Good Communication, by the master of interesting and meaningful conversations, Larry King.

A good example of a conversation is this one: Modern Revelations About Islamic Revelations.



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