Possible Approach: I Just Read the Koran…

Saturday

I'm thinking of writing a series called "Possible Approaches."

How do you bring up the subject of Islam, jihad, etc., in polite company without seemingly coming out of nowhere and being seen as a paranoid, racist nutcase? One possible approach I've used many times with success goes like this:

First, ask in a casual way, “Do you know much about Islam?”

And then follow up with, “I just read the Koran, and it was so interesting. I mean, the first three fourths of it weren't very interesting, but the last fourth really surprised me. Did you know it was all written by one person?”

You could actually go in many different directions after, "I just read the Koran." Of course, the only people who can use this approach are people who have read the Koran, but if you have, this starts the conversation with you in a position of authority, immediately gets the other person interested, and sets the stage for some very straightforward education. Give it a shot and let us know how it worked.

And if you have tried other approaches that worked, please share them with your fellow citizen warriors. Leave a comment (by clicking here) or email us (by clicking here) and we'll put it in the comments for you.

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Liberal Counterjihadist

A LIBERAL looked honestly at Islamic doctrine to find out what is really true. He was so taken aback by it, he created a website to open the eyes of his fellow liberals. He calls himself "Candid Progressive." I will give you a link to his web site in a moment, but first I want you to know what I'm going to do.

I am going to publish something by the Candid Progressive below, but I don't want you to share it with your liberal friends and family. Let's maximize the impact. Here's what I want you to do: Go to Inquiry Into Islam and subscribe. It's free, and I hardly ever publish anything on that site. The site is as neutral as I could make it. It has no "edge" to it. In fact, it is so neutral, some Muslims have written to me thinking it was a pro-Muslim site! (Read more about that here.) But I will publish the article below on Inquiry Into Islam next Friday. When you get THAT article in your email inbox, forward it to your liberal friends and family. They will hopefully go to Inquiry Into Islam to explore more, and they will follow the links to the Candid Progressive, and let us hope their eyes will be opened.

Okay, below is the article I'm going to publish on Inquiry Into Islam next week. It is written by Candid Progressive, originally published here. Republished with his permission.

A Progressive Liberal on Islam


The following is a candid, unflinching appraisal of the religion that keeps making the news, around the world, day after day by a progressive liberal. I will attempt to shed some light on just why Islam keeps making the news, and why that news is never pretty.

This is intended to serve as a wake-up call for some of my dozy (or less scrappy) fellow progressives, who seem unaware that we're now engaged in a global War of Ideas that's much bigger, and more threatening, than the absurdly-named "War on Terror" suggests. I created a web site for the secular progressive who wants to get the skinny on what we're facing with the Muslim world, and what we can do to protect our more enlightened, life-embracing culture from the advancing shadow of grim, aggressive Islamism.

Some key points to get out of the way:

1)  This is NOT about hate. The Candid Progressive is too happy to be a hater.  But not so blissed-out as to be unperturbed by a barbaric, woman-hating, freedom-squelching ideology with hordes of violence-prone True Believers, who are just aching to drag us all back into the Seventh Century and make us slaves to ancient superstition. That sort of jangling, in-your-face insanity does manage to puncture my cozy little bubble of bonhomie from time to time  —  and from my (relatively) civilized, femme-loving, liberty-addicted  perspective, that whole scenario seems more than a little f’d up.

2)  This site is NOT about racism. I have nothing but respect for former Muslims, regardless of their race/color/ethnicity. And I consider bone-headed white converts to Islam to be just as great a threat to democracy and human decency as rabid Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. The trick (which many of my fellow progressives have not yet mastered) is to ignore skin color, language, and geography, and focus on the ideas that motivate people, and on their resulting actions. Race has nothing to do with it.

3)  If white people behaved in the ways that millions of dusky-hued Muslims do every day, liberals would be literally foaming at the mouth in their condemnation of them. On MSNBC, they would never shut up about those vile, pedophilic, wife-beating, honor-killing, homo-hanging Scandinavian bastards. But since the miscreants are swarthy people from "developing" nations, the mainstream media seems to have nothing but respect for their ideology and culture. Apparently they get a special Brown People Dispensation, and are thus beyond reproach. That, of course, is bullshit. Bad behavior is bad behavior, regardless of who is hacking off their pubescent daughter's genitalia, or stoning someone to death.

4)  This is a critique of an ideology  —  an ideology that is inherently hostile to democracy, free speech, freedom of the press, women’s rights and other fundamental human rights  —  principles that all progressives should support wholeheartedly. Islam's brutal subjugation of women should be reason enough to make all liberals unite in heated opposition to it. (And the fact that this has not happened indicates that something very strange and unlikely is going on here, between Islam and the political left.)

5)  The idea that Muslims should somehow be exempt from having their ideology criticized (in a way that Catholics, or Christian Creationists, for instance, are not) is a bigoted position, because it’s based upon the assumption that they are too uncivilized, or too immature, to handle it. It’s actually more respectful to treat them as adults, like everyone else, and expect them to deal with criticism without reacting violently, just like everyone else.

6)  Some cultures are clearly far more enlightened and humane than others. A brief look at what goes on in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan makes this fact obvious. Cultural relativism is a lie, and it serves no purpose, except to prevent backward cultures from engaging in the kind of honest self-criticism that leads to the development of happier, healthier, more progressive societies.

7)  Political correctness is totally counter to the spirit of free speech, and prevents the discussion of important truths. It might make superficial people feel more comfortable, but it has serious, real-life consequences. Political correctness is an unacceptable hindrance for serious people who want to see the world become a better place. 

My aim with my web site is to shine a bright light on this lethal ideology, so that well-meaning but misinformed progressives can finally see it in all of its bloody, benighted glory. Here you'll find a veritable cornucopia of facts, figures, and commentary on the "Religion of Peace";  its origins and mythology, its founding prophet; its central texts and tenets; its rambunctious fourteen-hundred-year history; the types of societies it tends to create  —  and what it has in mind for you, Cupcake!

You'll also find some timely advice on how to wage a war of words, laws, and ideas  —  a cultural counter-jihad, designed to halt the spread of light-sucking Islam in its tracks  —  along with a few Islam-savvy suggestions on foreign policy and national security, and the occasional plug for energy independence, via clean, renewable alternatives. That sort of thing. 

There's a lot of confusion in the West regarding Islam  —  especially among progressives, because we're only programmed to distrust religious fanatics of the Bible-thumping, evolution-denying, queer-hating American variety. The others, we're told, are really just victims of something or other. But somehow the evidence confronting us from around the world doesn't seem to match up with the bland reassurances of the politically-correct types, or the passionate denials of dissembling Muslims.

An honest, clear-eyed appraisal of Mohammed's desert dogma, from an honest-to-God, tree-hugging, SUV-hating, voted-for-Obama progressive. Sound unlikely? A little surreal, perhaps? Is that the theme from The Twilight Zone you're suddenly hearing? Well, stick around, 'cause it gets weirder!

On this site, Political Correctness and Cultural Sensitivity will not stand in the way of honesty, common sense, or the basic instinct to survive.

You've no doubt noticed that Islamic culture appears totally alien and antithetical to the sort of open, progressive society we Lefties cherish. And, in spite of all the assurances from Muslim apologists (and from such imminent Western thinkers as George W. Bush) that "Islam is a religion of peace", if you're like most people, you're not entirely convinced. You realize that something smells "not quite right" in the world of burqas and beheadings. But what, exactly, is the source of that funk?

If you get your info regarding Islam from NPR, CNN, the BBC, and other PC venues, you've heard repeatedly since 9/11 that the violence, misogyny, and mayhem are not inherent to the religion itself, but are the results of unrelated "cultural" quirks. (One of those "You say 'tomayto' / I say 'Death to those who insult Islam!'" type of deals.)

We're told that the suicide bombings, the "honor" killings, the stonings, the female genital mutilations, the acid attacks, the forced marriages of underage girls, the slavery in royal households, the judicial amputations, the murderous rioting over cartoons, the virulent anti-Semitism, the hostility towards outsiders, the Sunni/Shiite massacres, the public hangings of homosexuals, the beheadings of blasphemers and apostates, and the murder of outspoken infidels in Western cities are all the results of, well...something else. Maybe it's poverty. A lack of education. "Cultural" hangovers from a barbaric past. "Tribal" traditions. Political oppression. European and American imperialism. The PC types have all sorts of theories. The only thing they seem to agree upon is that it has nothing to do with Islam.

Or, at most, they'll tell us that these horrors are the products of a tragic (and apparently commonplace) misreading of what is actually an enlightened, peace-loving religion. A religion that rejects these nightmarish behaviors in the strongest possible terms...but, regrettably, can't seem to go five minutes without being hijacked by brutal, misogynistic thugs.

So please, come visit my site and let's sort this thing out. 

Author: The Candid Progressive
From the web site: Handbook For Infidels

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If It Isn't Stupidity or Arrogance, What Is It?

Friday

This is a scene from the experiment.
I JUST FINISHED a book called The Invisible Gorilla. The authors do research into the different ways people can (and do) misperceive and misinterpret the world around them. The title of the book refers to one of the authors' experiments, which you can see on YouTube (one minute and twenty-two seconds long). The invisible gorilla is the most famous experiment in psychology.

The final paragraph of their book is a message all of us in the counterjihad movement should take to heart. When we can't get through to people, the easiest and most natural thing to decide is that our listener is stupid or blind or a self-righteous moron. But even when you think this, don't you sometimes have the feeling that your conclusion isn't quite right?

And it seems to me that if you had a better way to interpret your failure to get through, it might change your attitude and your approach to these interactions, and that would make a difference in how successful you are next time you share with someone what you're learning about orthodox Islam. These were the closing words of  The Invisible Gorilla:

“When you think about the world with an awareness of everyday illusions, you won't be as sure of yourself as you used to be, but you will have new insights into how your mind works, and new ways of understanding why people act the way they do. Often, it's not because of stupidity, arrogance, ignorance, or lack of focus. It's because of the everyday illusions that affect us all. Our final hope is that you will always consider this possibility before you jump to a harsher conclusion.”

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A Dozen Bad Ideas for the 21st Century

The following was written by Mark Durie. Originally published here.

Here is a list of false beliefs and modes of thought which make it hard for people in the West to come to terms with the challenge of Islam today. If you are deeply attached to any of these ideas or ways of thinking, you will have difficulty accepting the truth about Islam's teachings and their impact.

1. The belief that all religions are the same. They are not.  Different faiths make different claims about what is true, and about what is right and wrong and produce radically different societies. The same is true for different political ideologies. Consider the different trajectories of North and South Korea. Atheists have helped entrench this belief, because to acknowledge material differences between religions would undermine the atheist (and radical secularist) narrative.

2. The belief that religion is irrelevant as a cause of anything.  According to this view, religion can be exploited or hijacked as an excuse or an instrument (e.g. of oppression — such as an ‘opiate of the masses’), but not an underlying cause of anything. Marxist ideology has made a significant contribution to establishing this belief. In accordance with this assumption, security analysts all over the Western world presuppose that religion cannot be the cause of terrorism; so they and the politicians they advise must say that terrorists have ‘hijacked’ religion.

3. The belief that we all worship the same God. We do not. Thousands of different gods are worshiped by people on this earth. These gods manifest different characteristics, and make different demands. The worship of them forms very different kinds of people and communities.

4. The belief that one can justify anything from any sacred text. This is not true. It is a postmodern fallacy that all meaning is in the eye of the beholder. Certain texts lends themselves to supporting particular beliefs and practices much more than others.

5. The belief that the Christian Reformation was a progressive movement. This is not true. In fact the Christian Reformers aimed to go back to the example and teaching of Christ and the apostles. Throughout the whole medieval period reformatio always meant renewing the foundations by going back to one’s origins. Understanding ‘reformation’ in this way, Al Qa'ida is a product of an Islamic reformation, i.e. it is an attempt to go back to the example and teaching of Muhammad.

6. The belief that dispelling ignorance will increase positive regard for the other. This was the message of Harper Lee’s powerful novel To Kill a Mockingbird (pub. 1960). Although it is true that racial hatred can feed on and exploit ignorance, accurately dispelling ignorance sometimes rightly increases the likelihood of rejecting the beliefs or practices of another. It is illogical to assume that those opposed to a belief are the ones who are most ignorant about it. Ignorance can breed positive regard for what is wrong just as easily as it can breed prejudice against what is good.

7. The belief that everyone is good and decent, and if you just make a sincere effort to get to know another person, you will always come to respect them. This is not universally true. Holding this view is a luxury. Those who have experienced life under evil governments or in dysfunctional societies are shocked at the naivety of this assumption.

8. The belief that putting something in context will always produce a more innocuous interpretation. This is not true. Attending properly to context can make a text even more offensive than it would otherwise have been. Conversely, if you take something out of context you may regard it more positively than you ought to. In reality, radical interpretations of the Qur’an, such as are used to support terrorism, almost always involve an appeal to a rich understanding of the context in which the Qur’an was revealed, including the life of Muhammad. On the other hand, many have taken peaceful verses of the Qur’an out of context, in order to prove that Islam is a peaceful religion.

9. The belief that extremism is the problem, and moderation the solution. Warnings against taking things to extremes are as old as Aristotle. More recently the idea was promoted by Eric Hoffer, in The True Believer (pub. 1951) that mass movements are interchangeable, and an extremist is just as likely to become a communist or a fascist. He claimed that it was the tendency to extremism itself which is the problem. This idea has become very unhelpful and generates a lot of confusion. ‘Moderation’ or ‘laxity’ in belief or practice can be destructive and even dangerous, e.g. in medical surgery or when piloting a plane. Ideas that are good and true deserve strong, committed support, and the best response to bad ideas is rarely lukewarm moderation.

10. The belief that the West is always guilty. This irrational and unhelpful idea is taught in many schools today and has become embedded in the world views of many. It is essentially a silencing strategy, sabotaging critical thinking.

11. Two wrongs make a right reasoning. E.g. Someone says that jihad is a bad part of Islam, to which a defender of Islam says ‘What about the crusades?’ Someone says the Qur’an incites violence, to which someone else replies ‘But there are violent verses in the Bible.’ This kind of reasoning is a logical fallacy. A specific sub-type of this fallacy is tu quoque reasoning:

Tu quoque (‘you too’) reasoning: you can’t challenge someone else’s beliefs or actions if you (or your group) have personally ever done anything wrong or have objectionable characteristics. E.g. A Catholic says jihad is bad, but someone counters that popes supported the Crusades. This is a sub-type of the ‘two wrongs make a right’ reasoning, and it too is a logical fallacy.

12. Belief in progress: Everything will always get better in the end. This is a false, though seductive bit of wishful thinking. Bad ideas have bad consequences. Good societies can easily become bad ones if they exchange good ideas for bad ones. Bad situations can last for a very long time, and keep getting progressively worse. Many countries have deteriorated for extended periods during the past 100 years. It is not true that ideologies or religions will inevitably improve or become more ‘moderate’ as time passes, as if by some magical process of temporal transformation.

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Wednesday

Charles Jacobs, of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, shared this update about their film, Losing Our Sons:

Losing Our Sons — the true story of how two fathers lost their children to Radical Islam in America — has been getting positive coverage in the mass media. Yesterday's USA Today published an op-ed penned jointly by the fathers, Melvin Bledsoe, whose son Carlos converted to Islam, and Daris Long, whose son Andy was killed by Carlos "for Allah."  Click here to read the article.

This comes soon after the Fox News station covered the story twice! — in the Mike Huckabee show and in an interview by Shannon Bream on America's News HQ. Huckabee's emotional response and warm endorsement of the film can be seen at www.losingoursons.com.

We believe this film — based as it is on a true, personal and tragic story — can get the truth across about the most politically incorrect topic of our time: the growth of radical Islam in America.

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Personal Journeys Toward Difficult Truths

Saturday

Elsa
The article below is written by Elsa (Dr Elsa Schieder, PhD). She told us about what she's doing and we think it's a great idea. So we asked her if she would write something for our readers. Here it is:

The year, 2006. Something did not make sense to me. Utterly massive outrage by Muslims about a Danish cartoon when there was no Muslim outrage about the murder of over 10,000 Muslims by Muslims in Baghdad in just one year. And something else did not make sense: the widespread Western acquiescence to the outrage.

I have so much to say about what I learned between 2006 and 2012. Most of all, I learned how hard it is to reach most people. My students — I long was a college prof teaching Humanities — insisted on seeing Islam as a religion of peace, even in the face of massive Muslim violence, including to other Muslims. I also learned to face inner fears of speaking about what I was learning and figuring out about Islam. Fatwas are real things.

But how to reach people? Over and over I heard words like Islamophobe and racist used for people — including me — who did not accept the official version of Islam as a religion of peace.

But I've had a lifelong concern with human rights. I grew up believing in the equality of women and men, and of people of different races. As a young adult, I learned to also deeply believe in the equality of people of all sexual orientations. Basically, it harms people if we are not given equal rights, an equal chance to flourish.

So where was this name-calling coming from? I remembered the name-calling of feminists — bra-burners, man-haters — when the struggle was for equal rights for women.

But how to get people to see that the name-calling was out of place? That it was a barrier to seeing?

Fast forward to April 2012.

I suddenly had an idea: interviews with people prominent in the struggle to show the facts. Facts about Islamic religious texts (Qu'ran, Sira, Hadiths), about the strands of Islam, and about the wide range of Muslims. Facts about the Western response to Islam and Islamic pressures.

But I wasn't interested in creating one more place for the facts.

My interest: Personal Journeys Toward Difficult Truths: Understanding Islam, Understanding the West. I cared about us as people — people caring and daring, people facing fears, searching and speaking.

I remember how much I loved Uncle Tom's Cabin as a child. I identified with Tom, a slave sold over and over into ever more brutal conditions.

My desire: to make us come alive as people, just as Uncle Tom became alive to me. I've met quite a number of the people who have given so much to spread awareness of Islam, and to present facts. I've listened to and read the works of others. I've been impressed by what caring and courageous people they are.

I set up a website, invited people. So many amazing people agreed to be interviewed. Bat Ye'or, sometimes called the mother of us all. Robert Spencer. Mark Durie.

What do I want from you? Come to the website. Register for the teleseminar series — FREE. Experience us as people. Hear our stories, what we learned, what's happening with us now.

http://worldtruthsummit.com/

When is the event? It starts September 17, 2012. It will go on for 2 weeks.

What else might I want? Tell others about it.

There's a famous quote — the truth shall set you free. This is the truth about us as people.

Elsa

Dr Elsa Schieder, PhD

PS. If you'd like to know a bit more about me and my journey, here are a couple of links:

http://worldtruthsummit.com/truth-seeker.html

http://worldtruthsummit.com/hidden-knowledge.html

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A New Documentary: Losing Our Sons

Friday

One month ago, the Tennessee Freedom Coalition and ACT! for America hosted a world premier of a new documentary, Losing Our Sons. You can watch the trailer here. The film was produced by Americans for Peace and Tolerance, with financing and support by Andy Miller and the Tennessee Freedom Coalition.

Losing Our Sons is very personal. It is specific and avoids overgeneralizations, so it's a great DVD to share with those friends of yours who are still not quite sure if Islam is a religion of peace. Because it's so personal and specific — only talking about facts and events — there's really nothing in this film to argue with.

The film is about the 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting, and it interviews the fathers of two boys. One of the boys is Carlos Bledsoe, a Tennessee native who changed his name to Abdu Mujahid Muhammad when he became a Muslim. The other boy is William "Andy" Long, who was shot at an army recruiting office by Abdu.

It was jihad.

This film goes into the recent history of the growing Muslim community of Nashville, and shows some film footage of orthodox Muslim leaders who often spoke on the Tennessee State University campus, where Abdu went to college. The Muslim speakers share basic Islamic doctrine, but most people in the West will be surprised at the "radical" nature of the teachings, and the utterly matter-of-fact way these speakers present them.

The documentary is very well done (high production value, very professionally filmed). You'll be proud to share this with your friends and family. And it introduces important Islamic ideas very gently.

This is from the official description of the film:

Melvin Bledsoe, a small business owner in Memphis, watched with pride as his son Carlos went to Tennessee State University in Nashville to better his life through education. Daris Long, an ex-Marine, felt honored that his son, Andy, chose to follow in his footsteps by joining the military. But when Carlos Bledsoe murdered Andy Long in Little Rock, Arkansas, both fathers are forced to confront a new kind of American nightmare. As Melvin traced the trail that led Carlos from Nashville to Yemen and then to Little Rock, Daris confronted an American government that seems to be in denial about what happened to his son. This powerful documentary provides a moment of clarity for Americans who care about their families and their country’s future.

We're not the only ones recommending this film. Frank Gaffney said it was a “must watch for Washington policy makers, too many of whom refuse to acknowledge the obvious threats.” Andrew C. McCarthy called the film a “wrenching wake-up call.” Brigitte Gabriel described it as “riveting, powerful, educational and a must see for every American.”

Rebecca Bynum wrote, "The film focuses on Nashville (where Carlos Bledsoe found Islam) and does an excellent job in exposing the radicalism of the Nashville Muslim leadership which has long been ignored or soft-peddled by the press, politicians and religious leaders. It deftly presents a great deal of factual information as it weaves together the stories of these two young men, one who became an American jihadi and the other an American soldier — one seeking to destroy our country, the other to defend it." Read the rest of her excellent review here.

You can buy your copy of this 68-minute DVD here.

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Copyright

All writing on CitizenWarrior.com is copyright © CitizenWarrior.com 2001-2099, all rights reserved.

Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on CitizenWarrior.com is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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