More About "Whose Side Am I On?"

Monday

A COUPLE WEEKS ago, I wrote about a comment we got from a Muslim wondering if Citizen Warrior is just a very clever Muslim (Whose Side Am I On?). On Jihad Watch a few days ago, Robert Spencer wrote about the same phenomenon. Someone wrote to him and said:

"I can't understand whether you're a kafir trying to make people hate Islam with your commentaries or whether you're a Muslim trying to make people read the Quraan."

Using his inimitable sarcasm, Spencer's comment was, "This latest Hate Mailer, who writes in from Syria, is not as certain as the last one about my cleverly hidden secret identity."

I've been meaning to do a follow-up on my own article on the subject, because I've thought more about it. I think one of the reasons the article, Basic Principles of Islam, confused the Muslim commenter (about where my loyalties lie) is because the article is "value neutral." Most non-Muslims who write about Islam (and who know a lot about it) are very clearly against it. Their disdain for Islam comes through loud and clear in every sentence.

But I didn't do that in the article that got the comment. In fact, I specifically designed that whole website (Inquiry Into Islam) as a value-neutral educational site because the same things that raise the hackles of a Muslim would also raise the hackles of multiculturalists.

In other words, the article has no edge to it. It's just the facts. I personally feel that any non-Muslim who reads it needs no convincing from me. The straight information speaks for itself to those of us who share the values of freedom and equality. But what happens when a Muslim from Iran or Syria finds Inquiry Into Islam? What do they make of it? They can see that the information is being presented without any negative judgment. It might very well confuse them. Whose side am I on?

In Muslim countries you can speak openly about, say, the subjugation of women, and you can do it with no feeling of remorse or embarrassment, as I've seen on television programs created and shown in the Middle East, with experts arguing about just how much you can beat your wife, for example. There is no hint of shame about the topic, no embarrassment that their religious doctrines are misogynistic. Those of us who grew up believing in the principles of freedom and equality instinctively assume Muslims should be ashamed of these principles. How could they not be embarrassed about their own backward (to our way of thinking) beliefs? But they clearly are not.

To get outside this topic to see it plainly, let's look at Buddhism. You could speak about the teachings of Buddhism and just lay it out: "These are the teachings of Buddhism." And the person reading it might assume you are a Buddhist.

Or you could write about Buddhism with some disdain permeating your writing. In which case, a Buddhist might take exception to what you wrote, even if what you wrote was accurate. That may be what we are dealing with in educating non-Muslims about Islam.

When most of us write about Islam it's with ridicule or a clear tone of rejection. And a Muslim will take exception to what we write, even though we're saying things that are true. You see this all the time. Non-Muslims are speaking about Islam, but clearly not liking it, not agreeing with it — against it — and Muslims read it and object to what was said, even though it was true. They'll say, "You're taking it out of context" or "That's not the way we mean it."

A Buddhist might do exactly the same thing if you were saying some of the principles of Buddhism with an edge. One Buddhist teaching, for example, is to try to refrain from harming other living things. And if you said it like that, no Buddhists would have any objection. But if you said it in a way that added a negative value judgment to it, they might take exception to it, even if what you said was technically accurate.

For example, if you say they don't believe in good nutrition (and I think a case could be made that many vegetarians don't eat enough protein to be healthy), a Buddhist might say, "That's not what we believe" or "You took that precept out of context."

But the point is, a Buddhist or a Muslim will believe in the precepts of their own religion, and will try to defend them. And they won't feel those precepts are bad. And when people like us imply that they're bad, they take great offense to us and argue passionately. And if we present the facts without judgment, they think we are secret, very clever Muslims.

Let's look at it another way. Before the Allies began the invasion of Normandy, they gave the Germans the impression they were going to land somewhere else. The Germans knew a big invasion was coming, but they didn't know where. The Allies deliberately misled the Germans into thinking the invasion would take place further north. The Nazis moved some of their military resources to that place, which made Normandy a safer place to land.

Assuming you are from one of the Allied countries, let me ask you: Do you feel embarrassed that people on your side employed deception? Does it bother you? Probably not. If somebody criticized the deception, you might well defend the action. In war, deception is a legitimate tactic. Not many people think of it as "cheating."

In the same way, I think if Muslims know Islamic doctrine and believe in it they don't have any problem with it. More than that, they think it's the truth. They think it's right. They think it is ordained by the Almighty. So of course an expression of it — of the facts and principles of the truth as they see it — would not be anything to be embarrassed about. They wouldn't feel it is cheating or wrong or bad.

And if it was presented without any negative judgment, a Muslim might very well assume someone who is explaining their doctrine so clearly and unapologetically must be a Muslim.

The reason I think this topic is important is that many of the non-Muslims we talk to lower their voices in case any Muslims are nearby and might be angry about what you're saying. They don't understand that Muslims are quite proud of their teachings. To explain their teachings is not insulting. It is not an indictment. It is just the facts. And a nearby Muslim overhearing your conversation might think you are a Muslim trying to convert a Kafir!

And I think you can explain some of this and make it clear that their assumption (that you are being insulting to Muslims or indicting them) would itself be insulting to a Muslim! Their assumption is the insulting, un-multiculturalist faux pas. Get that across and you will have laid the groundwork for a new openness to the facts in their minds.

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If You Need Legal Recourse

Sunday

A WOMAN named Christine sent me the following email, and I thought it might come in handy for some of our readers. Here's what she said:

Are you familiar with the ACLJ? (American Center for Law and Justice) They are fighting battles against Islam legally in our courts. I really wonder if our government sees Islam for the political threat that it is. Definitely common Americans need to be made aware so they can speak up to our politicians.

Did you hear about the college professor in Oregon who got fired because he wanted to teach an informative class about Islam? CAIR complained, (threatened) to the college administration so they fired him. Now the ACLJ is defending the professor in court.

If someone you know needs legal recourse, this is one organization to choose from.

This is how the ACLJ describe themselves: "Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ focuses on constitutional and human rights law worldwide. Based in Washington, D.C., with affiliated offices in Israel, Russia, Kenya, France, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe, the ACLJ is pro-life and dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights for all people. The ACLJ engages legal, legislative, and cultural issues by implementing an effective strategy of advocacy, education, and litigation that includes representing clients before the Supreme Court of the United States and international tribunals around the globe."

You can sign up here for their breaking news and action alerts for free. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter too.

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The Will to Believe Versus the Wish to Find Out

Thursday

IN A LONG email conversation with an intelligent, educated, successful man, he went from being totally against my criticisms of Islam to deciding to read the Koran to find out for himself. He told me he ordered a Koran. That was a big victory. But I thought, "If he gets one of those standard Korans, it is going to be difficult to decipher." So I asked him, "Which version of the Koran did you order?"

He said he signed up for a free Koran from a website, and he didn't know what version it was.

I told him, "There are a lot of Korans available to read online, but one of the problems with the Koran is its message is somewhat scrambled." And I explained in detail what I said in the article, Why the Standard Versions of the Quran are so Difficult to Decipher.

I made a classic mistake here: I gave too much information. I kept selling past the close. I wanted to prove to him I knew what I was talking about, but I went too far. He had already decided to read the Koran. I could simply have told him, "Well, this version is the easiest to read: A Simple Koran." But no. I said too much. This was his response:

Wow, thanks for the rundown. I can see that there are no answers on the behavior of the average Muslim in the Quran so I wouldn't gain much by wading through it.

You know, what I take away from this is that whatever is happening it is not fueled by the Quran anymore than what happens with our various Christian sects has anything to do with the Bible. The books are just props for the Imams, priests, ministers and miscellaneous zealots trying to make people live and act the way they want them to. It always blows me away that every religious leader tells his flock what God thinks, what God intends, what God likes, what God doesn't like, and what God is going to do to you or me or the heretics or the unbelievers or whoever the opponent is. They never say "I think this may be his/her motivation" instead they use simple declarative statements indicating that they have it straight from the Big Guy.

It's the religious leaders who control the people there for the most part just as in the religious communities here the people's thoughts and mores are pretty much set by the priests, preachers, ministers, politicians, Fox News comedians, etc.

We're fortunate here that we have a smaller group of fundamentalist religious leaders and they have less political power than in most Muslim countries. Imagine if the government was really run by the religious right, say, with fundamentalist Baptist ministers or Catholic priests in control. Fortunately, our supply of zealots is a minority. We can hope that witch hunts, inquisitions, ideologically-motivated murders (abortion doctors), persecution of minorities (homosexuals, women, Mexicans, etc) is nominally against our secular law which is supposed to trump religious law.

We seem to be moving in the right direction although we seem to be much more theocratic than many other countries — theocracy with a liberal dose of oligarchy to my way of thinking.

It would be wonderful if we really had total separation of church and state like some other countries. But that's not our tradition.

I was interested in seeing an article in the paper a couple of days ago citing a study that showed that on the average atheists had a better knowledge of the Bible and Christian dogma than Catholics, Jews, or the various Christian sects. That seems to indicate that people do just take what is fed them by the leaders and don't really study it for themselves. It also suggest that a lot of people who do study religion end up atheists.

What do you think?

This is how I replied:

I'm not a Christian, but Islam is significantly different than Christianity. Mohammad really did learn a thing or two from observing the Christians. The Quran, once it is unscrambled (and that really doesn't take that much trouble, once you know how it's laid out) is a much more straightforward document than the Bible, and it even gives instructions on how to deal with its own contradictions.

I think it's worth wading through the Quran, but just get an unscrambled version. The reason I think it's worth doing is that you'll be able to get the feel of the religion. It's not like Christianity. Muslims often make it a point to say it is similar to Christianity, but it's very different, and you'll get that by reading it.

You said what's happening is not fueled by the Quran, but that's completely mistaken. It is fueled by the Quran. You can predict what orthodox Muslims will do and how they do it by just reading the Quran. Osama bin Laden and the other Islamic terrorists of the world often quote the Quran, and they quote it accurately. The people who run the OIC — the largest voting block in the UN — quote it. They are running its "program." They use it for their guidebook (as it says they should). Islamic countries around the world either use it as their guidebook or they are constantly suppressing rebellious forces who are pressing to make them use it as a guidebook.

There may be a higher percentage of "Muslims in name only" in America than other places, but America has a lower percentage of Muslims than almost any other country in the world. And in other countries, Muslims are much more openly and strictly Islamic. And we don't really know how Islamic they are here because they keep it to themselves if they are devout (as it says they should in the Quran). But we do know that in America, 75 percent of the mosques preach jihad. In Canada it is 80 percent.

It's worth knowing what's in the Quran because there is a whole PR arm of the Muslim Brotherhood that is actively producing disinformation about Islam, and they are getting their message across through all major media sources; it is being bought hook, line, and sinker by everyone from George Bush to Diane Sawyer. If you've read the Quran, you'll know better about the "true nature" of Islam.

He responded:

I do appreciate what you're saying and you have a very logical approach to learning about the religion.

I can see that a thorough understanding of motivation and custom and tradition can help us in negotiating with people. It can help us decide how to modify our behaviour to affect our relationship with them and we certainly could use more understanding like that.

I get the impression that a lot of people who go to so much trouble to produce statistical arguments that Islam is x% different, worse, or ?? than Christianity are trying to say that the people are evil or motivated by evil desires. Like the proposition that Imam Rush puts out that (paraphrase) "These people want to kill us because they hate our freedom" That's a preposterous proposition.

Anyway, it seems like all this dissecting of the Qu'ran is a lot like looking at weather maps to see if it's raining instead of looking out the window. The best weather prediction in the world doesn't touch the accuracy of walking out of doors and observing.

What is happening in the world is a function of myriad traditions, emotions like greed, hate, as well as ignorance, religious and political manipulation and other unsavory forces. There are no simple answers like "We're good and they're evil" or "We're generous and altruistic and they're greedy and flawed" or "We're moral and they're without mores".

So I repeat — What is the point that you are making by all this analysis of Islam? It seems after a long explanation there should be a statement that sums up the speaker's point.

For instance I see the following possibilities.

- So therefore our best course of action is a pre-emptive strike to wipe out any Muslims that might threaten us.

- So therefore we should get out of Afghanistan and let them work out their own destiny.

- So therefore we ought to forbid the construction of mosques entirely and outlaw books that espouse jihad.

- So therefore we should terminate our dependence on their resources (oil) and leave them alone.

- So therefore the only sensible course of action is to learn to live with them and let them follow their own traditions as long as they don't break our laws.

Well, you get the picture. What is your point in all this analysis? What are you trying to convince people of?

My response to him was the best thing I did in this whole exchange. I backed off. I pulled back. I said:

That is a fair question. The short answer is, I want you to learn enough about Islam that you are no longer fooled by their PR machine because of where that will lead. But I just don't have the energy or time to explain that all to you.

My experience in learning about this is that there are people who have an intuition about Islam, and are self-motivated to learn more. And what they learn shocks and amazes them and they want to share what they've discovered with others. But nobody wants to hear it. Most other people have an entirely different motivation: They want to find out some information or adopt a point of view that will allow them to just forget about it and go on about their lives. They are not motivated to learn more on their own.

The topic is a big one, and there is a lot to learn. And maybe when you have seen enough, you will dig into it yourself. You gave me five options (the bullet points). I don't like any of them. I want you to know more about Islam so you are no longer fooled by the orthodox Muslims deliberately trying to fool you so they can accomplish their agenda.

He wrote back to tell me that was a good answer and it made sense. This is something I see very clearly now: There are those who want to learn more about it and who have an open mind. And there are those who have already decided what they want to believe, and they are merely looking for a way to confirm what they already have already decided must be true. Bertrand Russell wrote, "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite."

It is very easy and enjoyable to share what you know with the first group. And it is difficult and frustrating to share what you know with the second group.

However, I think it is possible to influence the second group by talking about these differences between the two groups. If you're talking about someone who just wants enough information to be able to dismiss his intuitive fears, just point out the difference between the two people and then back off. You don't have enough time to waste talking to people like that, anyway. Find someone who is curious, and talk to them. Focus on the undecided.

Not only that, but backing off can help you change someone's mind. You have a greater ability to influence when you have "walk-away power," as it is known to salespeople and negotiators. Read more about that here.

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The Danger of "Selling Past the Close"

Sunday

WE ARE IN the business of promoting an idea: The currently prevailing notion that "Islam is a religion" of peace is false. With some people, it is only a matter of education. Those are the fun ones. They are undecided on the issue because they don't know much about it. We provide the information they have been missing, and they are become a new member of the counterjihad.

But with the rest of them, it is not a matter of education; it is a matter of salesmanship. To succeed requires more than simply knowing about Islam. It requires skillfulness in dealing with people. And one big mistake I've made myself and seen others make is "selling past the close" as it is known to salespeople. The term refers to the phenomenon of a salesperson convincing a client to buy a product, but after that point, instead of writing up the sale, the salesperson keeps persuading, keeps selling, which produces growing doubts in the client ("why is the salesperson still trying to convince me?"), so much so, the client changes her mind and decides not to buy. The salesperson sold past the close.

I want us all to remember this. All we need to do is open eyes. All we need to do is dispell a few myths. Reality will then do the work of presenting confirming evidence for their new understanding.

If you go too far, if you push too hard, if you reach too far, trying to convert them to being a committed member of the counterjihad, you will cause a backlash, a recoil, and they will become more firmly entrenched in their old way of thinking.

Aim for something small and specific: Get them to accept as true that intolerance toward non-Muslims and the command to push for Islamic law are central and clear in basic, mainstream Islamic doctrine. It isn't a matter of interpretation. The doctrine is as clear as day. You don't even have to convince them this is true! All you have to do is get them to wonder if it is true, and invite them to find out for themselves.

This makes our job easier in some ways. The only difficulty is restraining our passion enough to resist "selling past the close."

Read more about this principle:

Selling Past the Close on Heavy Hitter Sales

Selling Past the Close by Chris Conrey

Read more...

Wanting An Excuse Not To Become Alarmed

Saturday

THE FOLLOWING is an article published on Jihad Watch by Ronald Shirk, entitled, When Islam is Just "Stuff White People Like." I thought Shirk really nailed it when he said, "They wanted excuses not to become alarmed, and they wished above all to sound like the voices of reason against the 'alarmism' spread by 'jingoists' and 'militarists' like Winston Churchill." That's it! That's exactly what we're up against in one sentence! I think it really helps to understand what underlies the incomprehensible refusal to listen to simple facts when talking to some people. Here's the article:

It's hard for most of us who have already had our individual epiphanies on the subject of Islam to understand why so many of the very communities targeted for the worst abuse by sharia seem least willing to acknowledge the nature of the threat. Perhaps the comparison I've drawn with the phenomenon of anti-anti-Communism helps make today's self-willed blindness less surprising.

Reading the historical record, it is shocking how slow one key community was to awaken to the Communist threat: Christian clergymen. As Paul Kengor documents in Dupes, elite, mainline Protestant clerics served as a particularly gullible audience and important transmission belt for Soviet propaganda in the West. A number of prominent ministers, led by Soviet friendly professors like Corliss Lamont, embarked on subsidized cruises to the new utopia, and returned to America or Britain to discredit the truthful reports of religious persecution in Russia. After carefully arranged visits to Potemkin villages and rigidly controlled tours of select districts in Leningrad or Moscow, these veal-calves in collars would disembark in New York to tell the respectable press to disregard all the (factual) reports that Soviet Russia was persecuting Christians.

To some degree, these clergymen's attitudes may have reflected class, ethnic, and denominational bias; low-church, progressive ministers trained at Yale Divinity School or the Union Theological Seminary had little or no use anyway for bearded monks whose ceremonies were for them an embarrassing relic of Christianity's superstitious past. Such ministers, whose theological uncertainties had been neatly replaced by Social Gospel dogmas, were much more sympathetic to secular progressives like the atheist John Dewey (for years the leading dupe in America) than to exiled clerics with wild tales of labor camps and NKVD killing squads. (To some degree, the current apathy of even conservative Christians in America must stem from a similar distaste for "foreign," "archaic" forms of faith such as Assyrian Christianity in Iraq.)

More important (because it's closer to the surface of consciousness) is the fact that many Western Christians today are deeply concerned about burnishing their credentials as good progressives, and distinguishing themselves from a) low-status, intellectually non-respectable Evangelical Christians, and b) low-status, ethnically intolerant working class Americans. In other words, their embrace of foreign clerics with alien religions is just a niche form of urban white snobbery. It's akin to the behavior of an Upper West Side Manhattanite who preens about his cosmopolitanism by only seeing foreign films and overpronouncing words like Neek-a-ROU-gua.

Of course, this political form of social climbing extends beyond our poshest neighborhoods and out into the Heartland. My favorite recent example of it appears in a town I'd never heard of, Norman, Oklahoma. There, Margarita Banos-Milton of St. Stephen's United Methodist Church is sponsoring a gabfest on "religious intolerance toward Muslims," featuring such luminaries as

Muneer Awad, executive director of the [Hamas-linked] Council on American-Islamic Relations, Oklahoma City chapter; Malaka Elyazgi, a Muslim who serves on the University of Oklahoma's Women's and Gender Studies board of directors; Michael Korenblit, co-founder and president of the Respect Diversity Foundation of Oklahoma; and Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City. ... [As Banos-Milton said,] "I personally am deeply concerned about the misinformation, the heated emotion and blanket rejection of the Muslim faith. We have such wonderful Muslim brothers and sisters."

Kay Antinoro, St. Stephen's director of educational ministries, said the interfaith gatherings are designed for people seeking a better understanding of other faiths and their own faith.

"This round table is an important affirmation of our church's respect for religious difference and an opportunity to offer another voice in a culture of misunderstanding, fear and hatred," Antinoro said.

You have it all right there: Ms. Banos-Milton is keen to display her post-Christian virtues of "deep concern," and the "wonderful Muslim brothers and sisters" whom she parades like adopted pets. Her colleague, Kay Antinoro is fluffing her church's peacock tail of "respect for religious difference." Could there be a religion on earth with less respect for "religious difference" than Islam? Not since Jim Jones handed out the Kool-Aid in the (leftist Christian) People's Temple. But what we need to remember is that appeasement of Islam really isn't about the Muslims, any more than it is about the victims of Islam around the world. Religious dupes of the Communists weren't really concerned what was going on in Russia, either — or else they would have displayed more intellectual honesty than to accept without question the bromides dispensed by their hosts on foreign junkets. In much the same way, war-weary Englishmen in the 1930s weren't interested in what was really happening in the Sudetenland or Poland. They wanted excuses not to become alarmed, and they wished above all to sound like the voices of reason against the "alarmism" spread by "jingoists" and "militarists" like Winston Churchill.

When people swallow blatant lies, when they shut their eyes to so much evidence, only to maintain an intellectual position that raises their social status and makes them feel better about themselves, we don't need to wonder hard or wonder long why they prove immune to fresh evidence and solid arguments. Indeed, the more alarming facts an "Islamophobe" presents to such a person, the more violence you adduce and ugly connections you present, the crasser and more unpleasant you'll seem to him. You represent all the realities he doesn't wish to face. You're the oncologist who has spotted him smoking, the rehabilitated junkie who saw the needle fall out of his knapsack. You represent narrow, ugly, frightening thoughts; in effect, you become (in Freudian terms) the Id he'd rather pretend does not exist. So he'll repress all the information you try to pass on to him, the better to convince himself of his own high-mindedness. In fact, you'll become the scapegoat for whatever anxieties you've provoked — which explains why Oklahoma Methodists like these really do believe that the threat to religious tolerance in the West arises from...Christians.

Some people can't be reached. But many can if you do it skillfully. Here are some resources to help you:

Focus on the Undecided
How to Approach a Conversation About Islam
How to Think Outside the Persuasion Box
Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims

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Spelling "Quran:" Who Are We Trying to Reach?

Friday

BELOW IS AN email conversation I had with a reader of Citizen Warrior. This exchange is about a minor issue — how to spell "Quran." But it points to a bigger issue: Whether we are trying to appeal to (and hopefully reach and influence) people who don't already know about Islam's prime directive, or whether we are merely trying to appeal to each other.
At Citizen Warrior, we have been spelling the word "Quran" with a Q, rather than "Koran" with a K. The first email of the exchange said simply:

I never spell Koran with a "Q"...that is the preferred Muslim spelling.

I replied:
I prefer the preferred Muslim spelling. I am hoping to reach and inform people who "respect all religions" (multiculturalists — people who don't yet know much about Islam) so starting out with something deliberately disrespectful seems to me to be counterproductive.
If we were only speaking with each other, I would spell it however you like to spell it. But since many people have told me over the years that they share my articles with people they are hoping to influence, I try to keep it respectful. I never spell Muslims "Mooslims" or Muzzies or do anything else that would immediately stop a multiculturalist from reading. Those are the people we need to reach. Everybody else already "gets it."
She said:

How long do you think we have until they overrun our system of law? The Muslims have declared they are at war with us...I do not think that placating them in any way works...George W. Bush tried to tell us all that there are moderate Muslims but this is hogwash (no pun intended.)

I said:
I'm not trying to placate Muslims. I am trying to reach non-Muslims who don't know about Islam. This is a rule of basic public relations: Do not offend the person you are trying to reach. I have no interest in reaching Muslims. I don't care whether they like what I say or not. But many educated people know that Muslims prefer the word Quran spelled with a Q and they believe that spelling it with a K is what "Islamophobic bigots" do, and they just won't read something by such a person.
This is one of the most difficult points to get across to many people who want to do something about Islam: They don't understand that if they are a self-righteous zealot who just "speaks the truth and people's politically-correct sensitivities be damned" then the only people who will listen are those who already agree with them. If they want to reach the rest of the non-Muslims, they'll have to stop offending them every time they open their mouths.
I'm not saying you're a zealot. I'm using an extreme example to help make my point. This message is hard to get across to some people in the counterjihad movement, but I think it is an extremely important point, and it's one of the biggest things preventing us from bringing more non-Muslims to our cause.
I think our situation is urgent. We need to reach as many people as possible, in the shortest time possible. I believe spelling "Quran" with a Q helps us with that purpose and spelling it with a K hinders us.
She said:

If you are trying to reach non-Muslims, they usually spell the Koran K-o-r-a-n...

If you are trying to reach the educated non-Muslims, like me, they will usually know that Muslims prefer the spelling Qu'ran. You may lose them because they think you are placating Muslims spelling it that way....or being politically correct....

People today who are busy and educated do not have time to waste reading politically correct versions of Islam, so they rule yours out right away...why not ask and do a survey on it if you doubt what I am saying...ask people their relative awareness about the spelling, and their educational background.

I said:
You're kind of proving my point. While it's true that people who are already educated about Islam do not want to read politically-correct versions of Islam, those aren't the people I am trying to influence. My goal is to increase the number of people who are on our side. And the people I am trying to reach (those who don't know anything about Islam) would not read something that is blatantly or defiantly politically-incorrect. They are pretty sensitive to anything that smacks of prejudice, and they're looking for any excuse not to read something that runs counter to what they already know.
People like you already know. You don't need to be educated about Islam. You don't need to be reached. You're already on our side. It's okay if I "lose" you. I'm not really losing you, after all. You're still in the Resistance. You have not been turned away from the counterjihad; you've merely been turned away from Citizen Warrior.
She said:

My point is that the educated people you say you are trying to reach are the ones who would not know the difference between Koran and Quran...the ones who do have already decided their stance...whether educated correctly or not.

There is
no reason to spell it the way Muslims prefer.

I said:
That is an interesting point, and might be worth considering: If people don't understand Islam's prime directive, they may not know the preferred Muslim spelling of the Koran, so they wouldn't be turned away by the information, so I might as well spell it with a K.
As I was pondering this, I realized that a lot of multiculturalists actually read a lot about Islam; but what they're reading is the PC version — the wishful-thinking version from mainstream news sources. So I thought I would find out how those news sources spell "Koran," and I decided to spell it however they spell it most often.
I decided to test the New York Times and the LA Times, as representatives of mainstream politically-correct news sources. Readers of these newspapers are the people, I believe, who would be most likely to be ignorant about Islam and yet feel informed. Those are the people I want us to educate (starting first with the undecideds). The point of view about Islam represented in the NYT and LAT is the standard, mainstream point of view about Islam. The people who read those newspapers have seen the word "Koran" (or "Quran") many times. The question is, when they see the word, how do they see it spelled by the sources they respect?
The reason I want to spell it the same way as the NYT and LAT is so my writings are not prematurely dismissed by readers of these sources because of their preconceived conclusion that I am a Muslim-hating Islamophobic bigot.
So I went to the NYT and LAT and searched the two spellings. And I discovered the opposite of what I expected. In the LAT, it was spelled "Quran" 223 times and "Koran" 333 times. In the NYT it was spelled "Quran" 292 times and "Koran" 4,060 times! Just for a contrast, I did the same search in the Wall Street Journal. They did just the opposite: It was spelled "Quran" 504 times and "Koran" 236 times.
So from now on I'm going to spell it with a K. That's what NYT readers are used to. They won't feel it is insulting to Muslims. They won't turn away from my writings. So although I'm doing it for a different reason than you proposed, I am grateful to you for motivating me to looking into it.
As a follow up to this conversation, I found a question and answer session with Merrill Perlman, the head copy editor of the New York Times. Someone asked why the NYT spells it "Koran" instead of "Quran" since the Arab world prefers "Quran." Perlman answered that the NYT's "overall guideline is to refer to our dictionary of choice, Webster’s New World College Dictionary, when it deals with the subject. W.N.W. prefers Koran, and so we do as well. The Associated Press, whose style governs many publications, uses Quran."

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An Interview With Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

Wednesday

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff's trial has resumed. You can stay updated on it here: Save Free Speech. You can also donate money to help her with her defense at the same site. The following is an interview with Elisabeth by Jerry Gordon from two months ago, just before her trial began.

You can read what happened at that first hearing here
. You can read more about Elisabeth's case here. Now, the interview:

Jerry Gordon: I am Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor for the New English Review and we have with us today an important fighter for human rights in the world, Ms. Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: Yes.

Gordon: You are the second Austrian who has been charged with hate speech for criticism of the Qur’an and Islam. Minister of Parliament Dr. Susanne Winter was convicted by a Graz court in January 2009 of hate speech against Islam, received a suspended sentence of three months and was fined the equivalent of $30,000 in Euros. Dutch M.P. Geert Wilders’ trial on similar charges in the Netherlands has been halted because of witness tampering by one of the judges in the Amsterdam tribunal. Now you, an Austrian housewife and leader of the Act for America Chapter in Austria, are the subject of an unprecedented legal action. My question for you is why is your hate speech trial different from that of M.P. Winter and extremely dangerous?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: My trial is different from the simple point of view that I am a housewife and I am not a member of parliament or a politician. That’s basically all there is to it. I’m a private citizen who is concerned about Islam and the contents of the Qur’an, the Sunnah and Hadith. That is the main difference between Geert Wilders, Susanne Winter and me.

Gordon: Are these politicized trials in Austria based on existing hate speech law regarding criticism of a religious belief, in this case Islam?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Yes, they are based on existing hate speech laws. These laws have been in existence, as far as I know, since the post-Nazi era. They belong to a set of hate laws against officially recognized religions, basically regarding religious teachings and the other laws banning anything on National Socialism. Hate speech laws are absolutely dangerous because I am being prosecuted for the thoughts that I have; for conclusions that I have come to based on my readings.

Gordon: What triggered this trial brought by the Vienna Public Prosecutors Office?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: The trigger was a series of seminars that I gave last fall, a three-part series on the doctrines of Islam and Sharia. The Islamization of Europe has come about as a result of the teachings of Islam. In addition, Eurabia is one aspect I covered. A young Austrian journalist from a very liberal left-wing weekly glossy magazine was apparently asked to infiltrate and attend the seminars, record them without my knowledge or my consent. The magazine had the lectures transcribed and then had their lawyer go to the public prosecutors office and hand over the transcripts. Then the public prosecutor decided to follow up and bring the case. Now in less than two weeks I will have to stand trial.

Gordon: Who brought the charges against you and what was their motivation?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Well, the charges against me were first brought by this magazine called “NEWS.” Because they handed it over to the public prosecutor’s office it’s now the State versus Sabaditsch-Wolff. Their motivation? That is an interesting question because I don’t really know. I can only suspect that motivation was to try and halt Freedom Party leader Heinz Christian-Strache and cause problems for him. What they didn’t realize is that they got the wrong person with me. I don’t take this personally. Their motivation was probably also a concern about Islam. The leftist liberals as you probably are aware are very pro-Islam so it’s a combination of a couple of factors I suspect.

Gordon: What are the alleged charges regarding your supposed hate speech against Islam?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Well the charges are very foggy. I’m being charged for a collection of statements I made in a fully-sourced seminar, actually all three seminars were fully-sourced. The charge is ridiculous; I'm saying that I am against Sharia Law in Austria and gender apartheid. It’s just ridiculous. We will have to see what happens on November 23rd and how the prosecutor will react to my defense.

Gordon: You have a court date on November 23rd in Vienna. What kind of a tribunal will hear this matter?

Sabaditsch-Wolf: Well, the tribunal is just the judge. A lady, incidentally, and she will then decide based on whether or not she finds my response regarding the Qur’an, the Sunnah and you know, all my other proofs acceptable. It’s up to her to decide whether or not she will accept that proof. If she doesn’t, it remains to be seen what happens. If she does, it will be even more interesting because then it is actually the state that has to decide on the content of the Qur’an, whether or not it is compatible with Austrian law.

Gordon: Who will be representing you?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: I have one of the best lawyers in Austria. His specialty is not only media law, because as you know the allegations were brought to the attention of the prosecutor’s office by a very successful weekly magazine. However, he is also an expert on the UN Human Rights Convention so he knows exactly what it means to defend somebody who is being charged for a crime against freedom of speech. So he’s the best.

Gordon: Will you be allowed to have expert witnesses and who have you considered testifying on your behalf?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: I don’t know if I will have to have expert witnesses. We will certainly be asking the courts to allow expert witnesses. Following Geert Wilders line of defense we will be asking Professor Hans Jansen of the Netherlands and Wafa Sultan to testify on my behalf. I might also add that I have asked Robert Spencer to come to Vienna to sit next to me and help me, in case I need Qur’anic Sura quotes. He has indicated he would be willing to come to Vienna as well.

Gordon: You are the daughter of an Austrian diplomat who was in Tehran in 1979 when the Shah’s regime fell and the Islamic Republic was founded. What do you recall as a girl then about that experience?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Well, I was six years old at the time. I had just started school, first grade, and it seems that at the age of six, it’s a pivotal time in one’s life because you seem to have a very good memory from ages five to six. I do remember a lot and it seems to have really influenced me; especially the shouts and the crying for Allahu Akbar and the hatred that I remember seeing in people’s eyes, but also the mobs of those black-clothed women. I’m still afraid of big masses of people. I try to stay away from them. Apparently, that may stem from my experience back then. I saw tanks rolling in the streets. I remember the food-rationing that started quite soon after the revolution. I remember, for instance, my mother laughing about a new law that had been passed immediately after Khomeini came to power outlawing Sprite because it would remind people of vodka. They outlawed Pepsi because it reminded people of whiskey. I mean, it was totally ridiculous stuff, but you remember that of course. I also remember that I wasn’t able to go to school as often as I should have because I was told later on that there were many dead lying in front of the school gates and they had to keep the school closed because they weren’t able to remove the bodies quickly enough.

As a six year-old, you just don’t understand what’s happening. But later on when I started really looking into the doctrines of Islam, then it all made sense. It is hard for me to come to terms with Iran because this is a country that I’ve come to love very much and it would be my biggest wish to one day return there. Obviously, I can only do that when the Iranian people have freed themselves from the chains of Islam. Because I refuse to go to a country where I’m only worth half according to Sharia. So yes, the experience especially in Iran and later on in Kuwait has influenced me. It breaks my heart, reading about Iran and looking at the photographs from last year’s uprising. It just tore my heart apart.

Gordon: You were in Libya on 9/11. What did you experience there?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Wow! I mean Libya on 9/11 was such a crazy and horrible place. I came home at 3:00 in the afternoon from work, turned on the T.V. and all of a sudden I saw there was a special show of breaking news on German television. I saw this aircraft fly into one of the Twin Towers and then all of a sudden the satellite connection broke down. It took me about half an hour to fire up the satellite connection again. I sat there and watched in horror and basically stupefied knowing that it was clear right away who did it. For me that was no surprise. I remember that all of a sudden there was a banging on my door, and my Libyan landlord ran into my apartment and started screaming “oh, I’m sure the Jews did it, the Jews did it!” I politely told him that it is probably not the case and I asked him to leave. It was a weird feeling for me that day because I was actually due to fly out that night to Vienna. I questioned whether travelling out of Libya was still safe. But thank God everything was okay. I was more concerned that perhaps the Libyans were involved. However that turned out not to be the case which was good for me. Because I didn’t really want to go through any bombing of the country.

Gordon: What motivated your study of the Qur’an and Islamic doctrine and what element of that doctrine did you find particularly disturbing?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: When I was living in Kuwait in the late 90’s, I was actually experiencing Islam for the first time as an adult. There were things that happened every single day like you had Ramadan, the alcohol ban, the pork ban, you couldn’t read this and you couldn’t watch that, the books and the newspapers were censored. We also had a very nice guy from Jordan as our interpreter at the Embassy. I really liked him. He was a very devout Muslim. One day, I don’t know where I read it, but I found out that Muhammed the Prophet apparently liked young girls and married one of them. I went to the Muslim interpreter and I said, “Oh my God, did you know about that, I mean is this something that people know about? He became verbally aggressive towards me and he said you must never talk about this ever again. He never said if it was true or not. That was in addition to all the bans and all the Sharia I had to expect to live there, and Ramadan I hated with a passion. This was one of the reasons that after I returned to Austria, I picked up a book that I keep quoting because I think it’s one of the best out there and hopefully it will be available in English soon. It is called, “Gabriel’s Whisperings,” written by an Indian atheist. It is one of most shocking books I have ever read on Islam. It tells the ugly truth and it really shocked me.

Once I started reading this book it opened my own Pandora’s Box and actually changed my life in that I started really becoming active. I wanted to know the elements of the Islamic doctrine. I cannot tell you exactly the elements. The whole thing was just awful. Disturbing and destructive. It was terrible, reading about how genital mutilation is rooted in Islamic doctrine, along with honor killings. I mean those two examples are just horrible especially because I’m a mother of a young child who probably would have already undergone this awful procedure in the name of a so-called religion.

Gordon: You characterize yourself as a liberal and a feminist. However, why do some European and American feminists and gays object to criticism of Islam and Islamic doctrine?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: I wish I knew. I don’t. It’s baffling to me and I don’t understand it. I have always made it one of my personal premises that I try to look at the other side, and figure out what makes them think the way they do. I can’t understand why a liberal feminist or gay doesn’t understand it. It’s like they want to block this awful truth. On the other hand, they probably don’t even know it and in the name of liberalism, they think that anything goes. It seems that human rights are not cool. Let’s leave it at that.

Gordon: Have you met Dutch political leader Geert Wilders and do you share his views about the threat of Islamization to the West?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Yes, I have had privilege of meeting him in Berlin on October 3rd. It was a wonderful to have had five minutes with him outside the hotel after his rousing speech, before he was whisked off by his bodyguards to go back to the Netherlands. He knows about my case. He has offered his help, his support. He is just as disgusted with the proceedings as I am and we are in touch with each other. I share his views. I think he grasps the problem very well. He is a politician. I am a simple housewife and that makes a difference, probably will make a difference.

Gordon: Wilders and others have expressed the view that the EU needs a free speech law equivalent to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Do you agree with that and why?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Absolutely I agree with that. You see, I attended Junior High School in Chicago in the 80’s. I don’t know if this still is the case, however, in order to graduate from junior high school I had to study the U.S. Constitution which I wasn’t too happy about at the time, but which has subsequently influenced my thinking. Can you imagine the impact of studying the Constitution on a young girl in junior high school? The most important part for me of the Constitution is the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech. That is a right that is so precious and I will always hope for a similar constitution in Europe. Of course there is no First Amendment, nothing similar to that even though the EU prides itself in guaranteeing freedom of speech. We desperately need a First Amendment. However, I cannot see with the current political situation in Europe that there will be a First Amendment. It is not in the interest of the elite.

Gordon: Do you view the violation of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and Swedish artist Lars Vilks free expression and threats to their lives a disturbing development of Islamic intimidation in the EU?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Absolutely, I mean, it is stealth Jihad, Sharia, and more Sharia in Europe. I wouldn’t call it Islamic intimidation. I would call it Sharia. You may not do that according to Sharia. There is no fun in Islam is what Ayatollah Khomeini said and if there is no fun in Islam then you can’t draw anything and you can’t be an artist other than making a mosque more beautiful or writing the Qur’an, copying it and whatever. As regards your question about Lars Vilks’ free expression. There is no free expression in Islam; otherwise it wouldn’t work. The system would break down. So yes, it is extremely disturbing because we already have the EU submitting to Sharia.

Gordon: Have you received similar threats as a result of your lectures in the hate speech case brought against you in Vienna?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: No, thankfully not.

Gordon: Do you view the adoption of Sharia law in civil matters in the U.K. and other EU countries of concern and why?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Yes, this is a huge concern, and I keep bringing this up in my lectures and whenever I talk to people who ask me about what I am doing and why I do it. I tell them there are 86 official Sharia courts recognized by the British government in the UK. So de facto, we already have Sharia law instituted within the European Union. That means that there are two parallel legal systems operating within the EU. Those are only the courts we know about. I am sure that there are thousands of Sharia courts in operation within the EU. This must not ever be tolerated. If one knows about Sharia law and its consequences on both Muslims and non-Muslims then can one come to the conclusion that the European Union calls itself a haven of democracy and freedom and the rule of law? You cannot reconcile Sharia with democratic values, human rights and equality of the sexes.

Gordon: Why do you believe that Islamic doctrine prevents Muslim integration in Austria and other EU countries?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Islamic doctrine clearly states that a devout Muslim can only be loyal to the Islamic state, the Ummah. That is basically the simple answer. I mean, how can the devout Muslim ever integrate into a non-Muslim, kafir country? It just won’t work. There is no need to go into further detail because it’s as simple as that. You have it written in Islamic doctrine that a devout Muslim must never accept living under non-Muslim rule.

Gordon: Wilders has argued for restrictions on Muslim immigration in the Netherlands. Are you in favor of such restrictions in Austria and throughout the EU?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: Now there is a good question. Remember that I am not a politician. It is not up to me to make these decisions. This is a tricky question for me because, like I said, I’m not the one to decide that. The question also is what difference it would make in the long run, because you have such a large Muslim population already within Europe and you have reproduction rates that are just skyrocketing. This is a question for the politicians.

Gordon: Final question for you is how are you and your family dealing with the stress of the upcoming trial?

Sabaditsch-Wolff: It is stressful. I can tell you. My family plus my husband and my daughter are supportive. My daughter, of course, understands within the limits of a five, almost six year old. My husband realizes that it is very taxing on me. My mother supports me in the sense that she often has my daughter over so I can prepare for the trial. I have realized that my back pains have popped up in the last couple of days which seem to be the stress. I personally feel okay. I try to get enough sleep, even though I am very tired. This trial is not about me personally. This is a trial about all of us. All of us who believe in freedom of speech and opinion, the freedoms that should be guaranteed by a free democracy. I’ve tried to take myself out of the equation and that has helped me. I have to also add it’s very important to me that I have received tremendous support from all over the world and I am very thankful for that. This has made my life coming up to the trial easier. That is not to say that it’s not hard but it’s not the end of the world. It’s not a tragedy, and we will see this through.

Gordon: Well, we view you as Mother Courage in the 21st century. We want to thank you immensely for kindly consenting to this interview and all the best of luck to you in your proceeding and may you emerge victorious.

Originally published in New English Review here. Follow that link to see the 22-minute video of the interview, which was done using Skype.

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Criticizing Islam Successfully to People Who Don't Want to Hear It

Sunday

WHEN SOMEONE you're talking to turns against the idea of criticizing Islam, switch to talking about Scientology. Talk about Scientology's Fair Game policy for awhile, and once your listener agrees with you that the policy is unacceptable, make these points:

1. not all religions are the same

2. not all religious doctrine should be free from scrutiny

3. there is a useful division we can make between the political teachings of a religion and the religious teachings of that religion

In case you don't know about Scientology's Fair Game policy, here it is in a nutshell: It is a written doctrine of the Church of Scientology that enemies of Scientology are "fair game" and may be (in the words of the founder of Scientology, "deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued, lied to, or destroyed."

This policy has been carried out by the Church of Scientology many times, often destroying peoples' lives, and Scientology's criminal actions (and its written policies supporting those actions) have often been documented in court. You can read more about it at Wikipedia: Fair Game (Scientology). Also, you can find good information about it at the Scientology Critical Information Directory: Scientology's "Fair Game" Doctrine. And also check out the Suppressive Person Defense League: Scientology’s Suppressive Person Doctrine.

Islam has successfully gathered a cloak of protection around it, making it difficult to talk about this subject with many people. People don't have the same knee-jerk defense of Scientology, and yet many of Scientology's teachings are similar to Islam's. So learn something about Scientology, and when you meet resistance when talking about Islam, switch to talking about Scientology.

Once you've made some good points, come back around and make the same points about Islam. I think you'll find this a powerful new strategy.

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How Islam Protects Itself From Legitimate Criticism in Free Countries

Tuesday

SOMEONE EMAILED a comment about the article Whose Side Am I On? And I thought he made some points worth reading. I asked if I could post the comment, and the author said yes. Here, then, is his comment:

There is high illiteracy rate in Muslim majority countries and also centuries of inbreeding (marriage among cousins sanctioned by Mohammad who they have to emulate) have depressed the populations' I.Q.... Oftentimes their ability to rationalize is warped since they are indoctrinated from childhood by the Gestapos of Islam — the alim ulemas, the religious clerics who themselves learn the elements of barbaric Shariah verbatim from prior generations of clerics. The clerics are like the vectors/carriers of this deadly Islamic mental virus/meme infecting virgin populations of human beings, generation after generation, conditioning them to become mindless zombies obedient to the trilogy of Islam (Koran, Hadith and Sira/Sunna).

The indoctrination takes place in mosques (and schools/madrassahs) which we are allowing to mushroom all over infideldom so that those educated ones who migrate will transmit the mental virus further to virgin populations outside of the Dar ul Islam into Dar ul Harb. The irony of the whole situation is that immigrant Muslims who escape the harsh and draconian rule of Islam/Shariah oftentimes dream of introducing Islam and Shariah into this very haven that affords them all the freedoms and choice that only an infidel majority society can afford them. Additionally the children of immigrant or converted Muslims oftentimes are even more radical than their parents! Especially if they have been exposed to radicalization at the mosque (and that probably includes all the mosques in the US of A).

Truly Islam is a vicious mental virus/meme that distorts one's sense of reality and ability to rationalize. The million dollar question is what are we, uninfected human beings going to do about it?

When I asked him if I could post his comments, he wrote:

Yes! Please post my comments. By the way, we have an excellent local site (http://www.harlingenactchapter.org/) which is a chapter of ACT! for America. We wonder if we could link, or have you list us in your sidebar, if you do that.

We have an excellent section in Spanish with very nice articles, references and also videos for Spanish speakers (http://www.harlingenactchapter.org/Spanish.html). We felt the Spanish section was important as Islamists are targeting blacks and Hispanic minorities to further give the Islamic Meme a veneer of 'race' so that it will enjoy an additional layer of protection aside from the being mistakenly classified as a "religion."

If a large number of Islam are racial minorities, it would be politically suicidal to criticize Islam, since it could be misconstrued as "racism," which of course (and rightly so) is taboo in the US and the West. This double protection of the veneers of race and religion would allow the Islamic Meme to become further entrenched in the host country to the point of being impossible to dislodge.

Thanks,
Mahendra, (an expatriate from a Southeast Asian Muslim Majority country)

When I asked if I could post that latest comment too, he added even more:

The locality that I am in is now importing more and more Islamic immigrants and professionals. However, a profession, education, three-piece suit and tie does not a rational person make. My and others' experience is that an engineer or a physician who is indoctrinated/infected by the Islamic Meme will continue defending the meme and try to propagate the meme by hook or by crook. Recently in our locality two medical professionals were indicted by the federal govt. for illegally transferring millions of dollars to Iran and other Islamist umbrella organizations that are engaged in Jihad against infidels! The question of immigration and mosques and madrassahs are very real problems. Immigrant Muslims are vectors for the Islamic meme and the prime directive of the meme is to propagate the meme by all means possible...you have your hands full!

I am an expatriate and have travelled the world and am familiar as to the nature of the beast.

- Mahendra

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Click here to read the article.


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