MANY PEOPLE don't want to talk about terrorism because it is a divisive topic, prone to overheat people. There is always the chance of it becoming an upsetting conversation as people entrench themselves into their opinion and start arguing.
Plus it's an ugly topic. You're talking about people wanting to kill other people in horrible ways. It's about as negative as topics get.
But you can make it easier in several ways, and even interesting. First of all, approach it that way. Not as a way to have an argument or put people in their place or prove you know more than they do, but as a fascinating subject.
How jihad works and how non-Muslims have dealt with it in history is fascinating. What jihadis are doing now in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world is fascinating. The public statements by world leaders about Islam is (morbidly) fascinating. And the content of the Qur'an is really surprising to most people in Europe and America. So capitalize on all these points of interest. Make the conversation interesting. The facts themselves are persuasive. You don't have to try to persuade.
Find the most interesting, surprising facts, and use those to open the conversation.
Another way to approach the topic is to come at it obliquely by sharing something you've learned that citizens can do about terrorism. Part of what makes the topic upsetting is that people don't see the point in talking about it because they feel helpless about it.
However you approach it, allow people their point of view. It's okay. Most of us started with that point of view. It's understandable. After talking with you for awhile, they'll think differently, so you can relax. No need to get upset by it. And if you're not upset, it will help prevent them from being upset too.
We need these conversations to happen in free countries so they can remain free. It is a good thing to take seriously. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it.