They thought that was interesting. Awhile later, we had another lull in the work and I said, "I've got another interesting factoid." I've noticed most people (most of the time) are interested in anything that relieves their boredom, as long as it's not too upsetting, so I had their willing attention.
"Nine hundred and fifty-one years after Charles the Hammer, Islamic forces had conquered Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia and were massed at the gates of Vienna, Austria, with the intention of conquering Europe. The Austrians were vastly outnumbered, but the walls of the city were formidable. The bad news for the Austrians was that the army of the Ottoman empire knew how to besiege cities. They'd been doing it for centuries and they were good at it. So the Muslim warriors were well on their way to breaching the city walls when suddenly the king of Poland showed up at the head of an army, coming to the aid of their Christian brothers, and the Islamic forces were defeated. The Polish army saved the day! They saved Austria from becoming an Islamic country. They probably saved Europe."
My two workmates were listening intently and seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I kept on talking. "That was the high water mark of Islam's advance into the West. Get this: They were crushed at the gates of Vienna on September 11th, 1683. That's why Al Qaeda chose that date for the 9/11 attack."
Something happened and we had to get back to work, but I could tell these guys will think differently about ISIS and other recent events now that they heard that little history lesson. In fact, one of the reasons I think they were so intrigued is that recent events have awakened their curiosity about Islam. Most people know very little about it, which makes a lot of current events unnecessarily puzzling to them. People seem, more than ever, to want real information.
That was a few days ago. Tonight, I saw a movie about the attack on Vienna. It's called Day of the Siege. I recommend it (see the trailer here). It didn't have great visual effects, but the acting was good and it brought this important historical event to life. There was very little political correctness in the movie. It was honest and straightforward. Watch it with your friends, especially your Christian friends (because the story's main protagonist is a Christian monk and the movie felt like it was made by and for Christians). More people should know about basic Islamic history. It clarifies things and reduces confusion about events in the news. And it makes for a more informed voting public.