I am always interested in how people come to realize Islam is not a "religion of peace." I've collected many such stories, and they remind me that when someone doesn't seem to "get it," all is not lost. Information sinks in and sometimes has a delayed effect. Here is how one man came to understand that the comforting notions about Islam we get from our politicians and mainstream media are misleading and incomplete:
Hi CW, I wanted to share my story with you because you might find it interesting. You have my permission to post any of it if you would like to. But first let me say I have been looking into Islam 24/7 minus sleep and eat time for almost three months and I think your site might be the most important I have found yet because it actually helps answer the question of what to do. I spent about six hours reading on your site tonight. That is the longest I have spent on any site upon first discovering it. And I will be back tomorrow to read more and I am sure I will be back several times. I’ll even have to make a MUST READ section in my blogroll for your site. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO!
In '98 I was working evening shift and saw a late-night commercial offering a free Koran. Because I have an interest in all religions, especially Christian Cults, I ordered it and read it even though it was a very difficult read. I noticed peaceful verses and violent verses but did not know what to make of it all. Then after 9/11 I read the Koran again and this time I discovered a verse that talked about later verses superseding earlier verses. But I did not know which were early and later verses. Even after this and 9/11 I still believed that Islam was not a big concern for me as the only ones blowing things up were “terrorists” and not all Muslims were terrorists, right? Then came 9/09/10. It was the day that changed my life and mission. Because I have Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals, Word of Faithers and Bible Missionaries in my family, I had devoted the last 10 years to Christian Cult Apologetics, and then along came Pastor Terry Jones. Needless to say he and his Burn a Koran Day changed my life. Here is why:
On 9/9/10 I visited a friend's political blog and saw a post about the Burn a Koran Day. I’m not really sure why, but I thought, "This jerk could set the whole world ablaze if he burns those Korans." I visited Jones' site and also went to his Facebook page and also a Facebook page that was against the Koran burning. What I saw shocked me. It went like this: "We will kill you all if you burn our Koran,” and non-Muslims responded by saying: "Not if we kill you all first."
The non-Muslims were posting videos of Muslims burning people alive, beheading people, stoning people, hanging people, beating women, etc. I had seen a couple of these videos but had no idea there were so many. And of course on 9/11 they were showing all the tributes on TV which included the jumpers from the towers. I was really overwhelmed but still spent a total of five days on those Facebook pages.
One day as soon as I awoke, it dawned on me that I never saw a single Muslim denounce those atrocious videos without also half-heartedly justifying them. And many Muslims outright condoned the terrible acts. That day I noticed that far too many of the ones who condoned such acts were living in the West. I knew right then that there are not as many “moderate Muslims” as myself and most people thought. I decided that day that I would be changing the focus of my ministry and dedicating my life to studying Islam and telling others about its dangers. I started a blog on Islam and because I am disabled I plan on doing anti-jihad work full-time until I die.
I have been really blessed in that I have been able to educate my friends about Islam with hardly any resistance and they have been educating others. So far I have lost no personal relationships in doing so even though I alienated a couple of people in a Word of Faith Recovery forum I run for people who have had bad experiences in WoF churches — but all I did was quote the Koran and Ahadith. I guess my friends have listened because they respect me and tell others that if they have a question about religion, I am the guy to ask — they know about all I do is study.
I had the idea that I would get myself some conversation-starting Islam T-shirts so I could strike up a conversation with my local Muslim convenient store clerks and strangers, but after spending time on your site tonight I no longer feel that is necessary. I think after I spend some more time on your site reading your ‘what to do” and “how to do it” articles, I should have the confidence and skill to not be afraid to start conversations with anyone. SO THANK YOU SO MUCH. I saw you say you're not Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, so I hope you take no offense in me saying that I hope God will bless you for all the great work you have done. I would bless you with a donation if I could.