Relationships Strained Over Your Disagreement About Islam?


A reader asked us for some advice. He said, "Someone close to me is emphatically stubborn in their belief that Islam is a good religion and that only the 'crazy' Muslims kill people. How would you approach this person? I haven't talked to them about Islam for five years. I want to make a good impact before I lose this opportunity to talk to them."

That's a great question. Here's the advice we wish someone had given us twenty years ago:

I would re-establish my relationship first. I would improve my communication with them, bond closely, share good times, etc. And like you have done, I would stop mentioning Islam for awhile.

You can only be as "controversial" as you are close. A strong relationship can handle controversy. A weak relationship will simply break apart with controversy. A semi-strong relationship can withstand a little controversy. So build a strong bond first.

I would also try to think of the person's "stubbornness" in some other way. I would reframe it.

I read a good story of reframing: A father and his daughter had always had arguments and the father thought of his daughter as stubborn. But the meaning and judgment of a behavior at least partly has to do with the context. In the context of disobedience to him, the father thinks of the daughter's behavior as stubborn. But a friend gave him a different view: "Imagine what will happen when the girl is a young teen and a boy is trying to convince her to do something sexual. She will not be easily persuaded. Why? Because she's stubborn."

The different context casts the exact same behavior in a new light. Instead of a negative thing, the stubborn behavior could be seen more positively. Under those circumstances, the father himself might call it something very different: "standing up for herself" or "having integrity" or "hard to manipulate" or "strength of character." He might be proud of his daughter for her behavior.

Do the same thing with the person close to you. Try to think of the behavior you've been calling "stubborn" in a different light, from a different context, and use different words. If you were going to call that behavior something positive, what would it be? This is a way to break down a barrier between the two of you. It is a way of forgiving your friend for resisting you.

And finally, I wouldn't try to convince your friend in one conversation. I would think in terms of small bits and long campaigns. Read more about that here.

Citizen Warrior is the author of the book, Getting Through: How to Talk to Non-Muslims About the Disturbing Nature of Islam and also writes for Inquiry Into Islam, History is Fascinating, and Foundation for Coexistence.


tranquil 1:48 AM  

I would split the approach into parts.

"Islam is a good religion" - ask the person if they believe in human rights.
They'll say "yes". After that, quote a few verses directly from the Koran that are anti-human-rights. There are lots of them to choose from. Quoting straight from the Koran leaves very little wiggle-room for those determined to defend Islam.

Make sure that the quote about "women's intelligence being half that of a man" is mentioned.

After this, I believe it'd be useful to present some proof that Islam is in fact an *ideology*, not a religion.
Some proof of this is as follows -

Proof 1 - see here -

The above site has statistics and the supporting data.
If you look at the link "Amount of text devoted to the Kafir" (non-Muslims,i.e. us) you see that 64% of the Quran text is about *US* (and 51% of the overall trilogy (Quran, Sira, hadith).
*WE* are not "religion"!
No so-called "religion" can devote half of its texts to a *completely non-religious thing* - those *outside* it - and still call itself a "religion".

Proof 2 - Islam covers a huge number of areas of everyday life, none of which come under the aegis of "religion".
Inheritance law, for example.
Islamic jurisprudence is called "fiqh" and covers the following categories -
Criminal law
Economic law
Etiquette law
Hygienical law
Inheritance law
Marital law
Military law
Political law
Theological law <--- this is the "religious" *part* of Islam.

This shows very clearly that "religion" is but a very small part of Islam.

Proof 3 - Muslims praying in the streets in massive numbers.
This is a POLITICAL act. It is not done out of necessity but in a desire to *intimidate* the locals. It is saying "WE rule the streets now and you can't stop us." Street prayers show the "religious figleaf" dropping from Islam, showing the massive and hostile *political ideology* that Islam really is.

The above material should suffice to give this person's thinking process a good shake, allowing them to think about Islam in a new light.

Citizen Warrior 11:41 AM  


Anonymous 6:50 AM  

A good measure of a religion or any ideology is its ability to deal with destructive personality disorders. Learn about psychopathy, sociopathy, and malignant narcissism; either eliminate them, or figure out how to fight fire with fire.

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