ONE OF THE MOST important things I recommend a citizen do about terrorism is learn about Islam and share that information with their fellow westerners.
But if you've ever tried to tell your friends about jihad, you've probably discovered most people don't want to hear it. They will sometimes argue with you even if they know nothing about Islam, and they don't understand why you would want to "bash" another religion.
But sharing this information is the best thing a citizen can do to help halt terrorism. So the question is: How can you talk to people about a subject they don't want to talk about?
There is only one answer: First you must motivate them to listen.
Almost as a prerequisite for this topic, before you can really have a good listener, you will need to explain why it's important to know more about Islamic teachings. Most people you come across will literally not have a clue why you would even be interested, or why they should be.
So here are the top twelve reasons why it's a sane, rational, sensible goal to know more about Islam. When you start to talk about jihad or Shari'a and you can see the resistance or suspicion on the face of your listener, ask them, "Are you wondering why I'm even interested in this?" If they are curious, let them know about one or two of the reasons below. While you're reading the list here, pick out the ones you think would be the most effective, and make it a point to remember them for your next conversation:
1. Fundamentalist Muslims are immigrating to western democracies. From within those democracies, including the one we are living in, they are setting up terrorist cells right now. Their spokesmen are delivering fiery tirades at mosques and at demonstrations in our own country, calling the faithful Muslims to rise up against the infidels (you and me), telling the Muslims in their congregation it is their holy duty to overthrow the government and to establish Islamic law. They are recruiting native-born westerners into terrorist groups.
They are in free countries now, preaching hatred. And most western democracies allow more in all the time. Why? Because most westerners don't know much about Islam.
2. They will perpetually try to change our laws, from within and from without. They have already done so in Europe and Canada. Islam is a political ideology. It is the duty of faithful Muslims to work toward making every government on earth follow Allah's law (Shari'a law).
They are carefully following a 20-year plan to overthrow the U.S. government, and so far, they are succeeding. Why? Because most Americans don't know anything about Islam.
If westerners knew what was going on, they could resist it. But our ignorance makes their job very easy.
3. They are having more children than most of us. There are many ways to wage jihad and subjugate infidels. One is through violence.
Another is through reproduction. You can out-reproduce the enemy, which Muslims have been doing. They are immigrating in large numbers into western democracies, and having as many children as they can, and teaching them to be devout Muslims.
Devout Muslims will try to turn any country they live into an Islamic state, no matter how long it takes. They have to. It is their religious duty to do so, whether they want to or not.
4. The teenage children of moderate Muslims are easily persuaded by terrorist recruiters. Even if many of the Muslims who immigrate are authentically peaceful, their children will be vulnerable to recruitment as they see through the hypocrisy of their parents' incomplete worship.
The children of Muslims have heard all their lives from everyone in authority that the Qur'an is a direct message from the Almighty Himself. As teens, if they hear a preacher tell them what's actually in the Qur'an they will be shocked. The Qur'an contains clear instructions to wage continual war on unbelievers until the whole world submits to Islamic law.
The teens will look at their parents and feel disgusted. Their parents — the ones who have told them repeatedly that the Qur'an is the perfect word of Allah — ignore much of the book.
So in other words, it wouldn't even matter if we could somehow screen Muslims who enter western democracies for fanaticism. Even if we only let in casual, half-hearted Muslims (peaceful Muslims), their children are potential "homegrown terrorists."
Plus, we cannot ignore the added benefit of dying while slaying infidels: You go straight to heaven, and have 72 beautiful wives ready to do your bidding. What 15 year-old boy wouldn't find that an attractive proposition?
All his life he's been told the Qur'an is Allah's message, and he finally reads it cover to cover (it's not very long) and discovers those preachers were right: It says quite clearly that if he dies while killing infidels he will go straight to heaven without passing GO, without having to be judged, and there, awaiting him, is his lovely harem.
It doesn't take any interpreting or "reading into" the Qur'an to know what it says. There are no vague analogies or stories open to multiple interpretations as there are in the Torah and the Bible. It is a clear, simple, direct message written by one man. Anyone who reads it will know what to do.
5. Confusing current events become understandable. Once you learn what's really going on, the scary terrorist events that make you think, "Why are they doing this?!" are suddenly illuminated, and you know exactly why they're doing it, and why most westerners don't have a clue about what's going on.
You would think that learning about Islamic jihad would make you hate Muslims, but strangely enough, it does the opposite. Most Muslims are in an even worse situation than the infidels. The more you learn about Islam, the more sympathy you have for Muslims who had no choice in the matter and cannot escape without risking their lives and the lives of everyone they love.
But sometimes learning about the subject is upsetting. It is a shock to learn what's in the Qur'an, knowing that one and a half billion human beings believe this is the final message from the supreme ruler of the universe.
But after you get over the shock, it makes world events less upsetting. You will understand what's going on for the first time. You will no longer feel as exasperated or wonder what the hell is happening in this crazy world. You'll finally understand.
Of all the benefits of learning about Islam, this is probably the one that had the most impact on me. Political events that have been happening since I can remember — the hostage situations and hijacked planes and bombings all seemed so unnecessary and confusing. And you can watch the news all day long and get no clarity whatsoever about why these things are happening and what they all have to do with each other. It's a relief to finally comprehend the bigger picture.
6. You can help your fellow westerners understand. This is a nice benefit of learning about Islamic terrorism. Your understanding can help you shed some light and help eliminate the confusion you see in the people you know. It is a gift to the people you know to calm their confused minds. It is a valuable service you can provide your fellow citizens.
7. Your education is more well-rounded. Most of us have some knowledge about Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. We've heard quotes by their founders, we know some of what they teach, we know a little of their history, etc. But almost every westerner is ignorant of the most basic teachings of Islam.
So if you're interested in being a generally well-rounded, educated citizen — even if you didn't care about terrorism — you should want to learn about Islam.
In addition, of course, is the fact that almost all the armed conflicts in the world today involve Muslims in one way or another. And almost all terrorism is Islamic and fundamentally motivated by the teachings of Islam, as the terrorists themselves tell us proudly.
8. Your vote on this issue is important. If you vote, you are helping to elect representatives and leaders who make legal and political decisions, like how to change the immigration policies, and who to prosecute for trying to overthrow the government. When you understand more about Islam and its relationship to terrorism, you will be able to know which leaders have a grasp on this subject and which do not, and vote accordingly.
9. It is interesting. Once you get over your initial uncomfortable feelings about the subject, you'll find much to hold your interest. Do you know, for example, why Osama bin Laden chose September 11th as the day of his attack on America? Because the last high-water mark of Islam occurred in 1683 on September 11th.
Islam had expanded and conquered for centuries, and was finally stopped at the gates of Vienna when 40,000 soldiers arrived just in time to stop the Muslim siege of the city.
Islam's spread has been repressed by superior military force ever since then. Their dominance has been receding since that day. But the new resurgence has set out to finish the goal (Islamic world domination), so they chose September 11th to kick off the new era.
Before I started learning about Islam, I didn't know about the gates of Vienna. I didn't know why the Crusades happened. I didn't know why Middle Eastern countries have seemed so dead-set on destroying Israel. I didn't know what the hijacking of planes and the holding of hostages was all about when I was a kid. I have learned so much, and a lot of it has been very interesting.
10. Knowledge can immunize us. Have you ever gotten what looks like an official email from Amazon or PayPal, asking you for account information? For those who don't know this kind of thing can happen, they are vulnerable to giving away their personal account information to a criminal.
The email usually says something like, "There has been a problem with your account and we need you to update your account information." And they provide a link. When you follow the link, it looks every bit like the official web site. If you give your information, you just gave your money to a scam artist.
If you know about this, if you've heard of the scam, you are immune to it. If you want to check it out just in case, you will not use their link. You will type in "amazon.com" or "paypal.com" into your browser and go check your account to see if anything is really wrong.
With that little bit of knowledge, you avoided a major catastrophe. Knowledge makes the difference.
It is exactly the same with knowing about Islam. Once you have a pretty good grasp of what's going on, you are less afraid, less paranoid, and less vulnerable to the tricks Islamic terrorists use to fool ignorant westerners. If enough of us are educated, they will find their plans thwarted at every turn.
If you don't know about Islam, you will not be able to tell the difference between Islamic terrorists and peaceful Muslims, so you will have to either distrust them all (which isn't cool) or trust them all (which would be stupid). Educate yourself and you won't have this dilemma.
11. Your survival is at stake. I know that sounds very dramatic and rabble-rousing, but it is quite literally true. All the different factions of Islamic terrorists have a single goal in mind: Islamic dominance of the world. They didn't make this up. They didn't "interpret" their holy book that way. They didn't have to guess. That is what it says, directly and clearly.
These people are not joking. This is not a casual hobby for them. They have dedicated their lives to it. And oil-rich Islamic governments are pouring money into the project.
They won't stop. This is a war that has gone on for 1400 years, and as far as they're concerned, it will go on for another 1400 years or as long as it takes to win. They are completely dedicated. They are gaining the advantages of new technologies. They are well-funded. They are highly passionate and dedicated, and literally willing to blow themselves up to kill even a few of us.
They are actively seeking advanced weapons and are perfectly willing to use them on infidels. It is entirely possible they could gain control of a nuclear or biological weapon.
I don't know how the West will ultimately win this war, but I know this: Until enough of us face and understand what we're up against, we don't have a chance. Cheerful obliviousness will always be easily defeated by grim determination.
12. You'll be ahead of your time. In the future, everyone will know about Islam, either because the whole world will have submitted to Islamic law, or because enough of us learned about it ahead of time and successfully defended ourselves against it. Either way, by learning about it now, you are one of the elite few, the vanguard of a new era.
THOSE ARE THE TWELVE most important reasons someone should want to know about Islamic terrorism. When you begin sharing something about terrorism with someone you know, and you see their eyes start to glaze over, or you see that look in their eyes that seems to say, "Are you some kind of nut?" ask them this question:
I'm even interested in this?"
They will probably nod their head. Then you can share with them why you think it's important. Let them know what's at stake and why this is a fascinating subject to learn about. Once they're motivated, you can then go on with what you wanted to tell them in the first place.
These one-on-one conversations you have with your friends are the first and most important step in the process of halting and reversing the increasingly dangerous spread of Islamic terrorism. People need to be educated, one conversation at a time.
We should not be casual about this or approach it in a leisurely way. Right now Islamic terrorists are organizing cells within the borders of your country. Right now they are building mosques and preaching hatred and the overthrow of your government. Right now they are immigrating to your country and having as many babies as possible.
But even after someone understands why it is important to know about Islam, you will probably get a second layer of resistance. Why?
Educated people in western democracies have a particularly hard time dealing with a conversation that says something negative about another culture or religion. That is almost entirely a good thing. But not entirely. In this case, an exception should be made because westerners are very unfamiliar with Islam. They don't have any idea what the Qur'an says its believers should do, and even when they hear someone (like a terrorist) quote the Qur'an, they assume that must be wrong somehow.
When a form of worship is killing non-Muslims, it is a good idea to make an exception to a blind rule about religious tolerance. When a belief system is intolerant of other belief systems and works to suppress them, it should not be tolerated.
Most westerners make the assumption that all religions are basically alike. And we have a deep-seated respect for other cultures and the right of everyone to believe what they want. We have a profound distrust of any hint of arrogance or any feelings of superiority of our own culture. It is almost at the level of a taboo.
This distrust is almost entirely a good thing. It's one of the reasons we are able to have such a rich, diverse society with people of all kinds getting along with each other.
So most westerners feel pretty strongly that everybody has a right to believe what they want. And they've been told repeatedly that Islam is a religion of peace. That is the source of the second layer of resistance you may get. It's important to know what mindset you're talking to.
A third layer of resistance to talking about terrorism is the obvious fact that it's a scary and upsetting subject. This makes it somewhat of a unwelcome topic for normal conversations. This ugly, scary quality is compounded by the fact that most people don't think they can do anything about it. Feeling helpless intensifies the feeling of anxiety.
And there is yet a fourth layer of resistance, which is perhaps the most fundamental: People don't want to believe Islam is a warlike religion because if it's true, it seems to imply we will have to go to war with all of Islam to defend ourselves, and that is almost unthinkable. The idea is enough to frighten the most courageous infidel. Go to war with 1.5 billion people?
But of course, learning there are some basic things in the religion of Islam that make it incompatible with modernity or democracy doesn't necessarily mean war with all of Islam is inevitable.
First of all, many, maybe even most — Muslims would like to ignore the violent parts of the Qur'an, and many of them have been and are now at war with fundamentalist Muslims. The conflicts in Algeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Egypt, to name just a few, are mostly modern-thinking Muslims at war with fundamentalist Muslims.
So even if an all-out war were necessary, it would not be against all the world's Muslims. Not even close.
But besides that, the "war" that really needs to take place is in the minds of our fellow westerners. Once we are well-versed on Islam, certain precautions will become obvious and will go a long way toward protecting us from danger (such as changing our immigration and sedition laws).
Just as the knowledge of Amazon or Paypal scams simply and easily avoid what could be a financial nightmare, knowledge of Islam can go a long way toward simply and easily avoiding the nightmare of an Islamic fundamentalist invasion into democratic countries.
Fear of the implications of a fact is not a legitimate reason to avoid talking about a fact, anyway, but I thought I would mention it because the fear may well be lurking in the mind of the person you're talking to and make them resistant to hearing anything bad about Islam.
But once you can get over these hurdles and broach the subject, so much can be said that ultimately makes us stronger and less confused. It is worth the trouble.
Really take this seriously. It is important that you help make the person interested in the subject. Try to make it interesting and don't try to play up the scariest parts unless you feel you have to. Learn more about being a good conversationalist if you need to. This is important work, and we should do it wholeheartedly.
It can do a lot of good indeed to say something negative about Islam, if it is done the right way. Memorize the list, motivate your listeners to hear your message, and then tell them what you know. Your skill and determination in doing this work can prevent immense suffering and ultimately save lives.
Learn more about influencing your friends: