Why Proposed 'Blasphemy Laws' Would Ban Islam


The following was written by Associate Director of the Middle East Forum (and former Reference Assistant at the Near East Section of the Library of Congress) Raymond Ibrahim and originally published on American Thinker.

Soon after Muslim gunmen killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo offices, which published satirical caricatures of Muslim prophet Muhammad, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — the “collective voice of the Muslim world” and second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations — is again renewing calls for the United Nations to criminalize “blasphemy” against Islam, or what it more ecumenically calls, the “defamation of religions.”

Yet the OIC seems to miss one grand irony: if international laws would ban cartoons, books, and films on the basis that they defame Islam, they would also, by logical extension, have to ban the entire religion of Islam itself — the only religion whose core texts actively and unequivocally defame other religions, including by name.

To understand this, consider what “defamation” means. Typical dictionary definitions include “to blacken another’s reputation” and “false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, as by slander or libel.” In Muslim usage, defamation simply means anything that insults or offends Islamic sensibilities.

However, to gain traction among the international community, the OIC cynically maintains that such laws should protect all religions from defamation, not just Islam (even as Muslim governments ban churches, destroy crucifixes, and burn Bibles). Disingenuous or not, the OIC’s wording suggests that any expression that “slanders” the religious sentiments of others should be banned.

What, then, do we do with Islam’s core religious texts — beginning with the Koran itself — which slanders, denigrates, and blackens the reputation of other religions? Consider Christianity alone: Koran 5:73 declares that “Infidels are they who say God is one of three,” a reference to the Christian Trinity; Koran 5:72 says “Infidels are they who say God is the Christ, [Jesus] son of Mary”; and Koran 9:30 complains that “the Christians say the Christ is the son of God… may God’s curse be upon them!”

Considering that the word “infidel” (kafir) is one of Islam’s most derogatory terms, what if a Christian book or Western cartoon appeared declaring that “Infidels are they who say Muhammad is the prophet of God — may God’s curse be upon them”? If Muslims would consider that a great defamation against Islam — and they would, with the attendant rioting, murders, etc. — then by the same standard it must be admitted that the Koran defames Christians and Christianity.

Indeed, it is precisely because of this that some Russian districts are banning key Islamic scriptures — including Sahih Bukhari, which is seen as second in authority after the Koran itself. According to Apastovsk district RT prosecutors, Sahih Bukhari has been targeted because it promotes “exclusivity of one of the world’s religions,” namely Islam, or, in the words of Ruslan Galliev, senior assistant to the prosecutor of Tatarstan, it promotes “a militant Islam” which “arouses ethnic, religious enmity.”

Similarly, consider how the Christian Cross, venerated among millions, is depicted — is defamed — in Islam: according to canonical hadiths, when he returns, Jesus (“Prophet Isa”) will destroy all crosses; and Muhammad, who never allowed the cross in his presence, once ordered someone wearing a cross to “throw away this piece of idol from yourself.” Unsurprisingly, the cross is banned and often destroyed whenever visible in many Muslim countries.

What if Christian books or Western movies declared that the sacred things of Islam — say the Black Stone in Mecca’s Ka’ba — are “idolatry” and that Muhammad himself will return and destroy them? If Muslims would consider that defamation against Islam — and they would, with all the attendant rioting, murders, etc. — then by the same standard it must be admitted that Islamic teaching defames the Christian Cross.

Here is a particularly odious form of defamation against Christian sentiment, especially to the millions of Catholic and Orthodox Christians: According to Islam’s most authoritative Koranic exegetes, including the revered Ibn Kathir, Muhammad is in paradise married to and copulating with the Virgin Mary.

What if a Christian book or Western movie portrayed, say, Muhammad’s “favorite” wife, Aisha — the “Mother of Believers” — as being married to and having sex with a false prophet in heaven? If Muslims would consider that a great defamation against Islam — and they would, with all the attendant rioting, murders, etc. — then by the same standard it must be admitted that Islam’s most authoritative Koranic exegetes defame the Virgin Mary.

Nor is such defamation of Christianity limited to Islam’s core scriptures; modern-day Muslim scholars and sheikhs agree that it is permissible to defame and mock Christianity. “Islam Web,” which is owned by the government of Qatar, even issued a fatwa that legitimizes insulting Christianity. (The Qatari website also issued a fatwa in 2006 permitting burning people alive — only to take it down after the Islamic State used the fatwa’s same arguments to legitimize burning a Jordanian captive pilot.)

The grandest irony of all is that the “defamation” that Muslims complain about — and that prompts great violence and bloodshed around the world — revolves around things like cartoons and movies, which are made by individuals who represent only themselves; on the other hand, Islam itself, through its holiest and most authoritative texts, denigrates and condemns — in a word, defames — all other religions, not to mention calls for violence against them (e.g., Koran 9:29).

It is this issue, Islam’s perceived “divine” right to defame and destroy, that the international community should be addressing — not silly cartoons and films.

Raymond Ibrahim
 is the 
Associate Director of the Middle East Forum (and former Reference Assistant at the Near East Section of the Library of Congress). To follow him on Twitter or via email, go to the sidebar of his website here.

Editor's note: I would like to add the following to Ibrahim's excellent article above: Islamic doctrine also defames Jews specifically, and defames every other non-Muslim generally, which would include Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, Jains, Sikhs, etc.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


The Supremacist Nature of Islamic Prayer

The following was written by British author, Babs Barron, a chartered psychologist in independent practice in the UK. Published here with her permission:

Together with the revelations about the identity of "Jihadi John"/Mohammed Emwazy, and notwithstanding the fawning media coverage of the CAGE spokesman's excuses for his behaviour, I believe that the UK is reaching a critical point in the unmasking of Islam's true agenda there. The revealing of Emwazy's true identity and the fact that he attended a university which had a history of radicalisation, so close to the General Election has brewed up the potential for a perfect storm for the political parties unless they can show that they will take Islam in hand.

However, they will fail utterly unless they educate themselves fully about how Islam perceives other belief systems and their social and cultural mores.

According to the latest census data, there were 33.2 million Christians, 263,346 Jews, and 2,660,116 Muslims in the UK in 2012. One may assume that those who define themselves in terms of their religious beliefs practice those beliefs although to varying degrees. We are told also that the Muslim population is the fastest growing in the UK, which should be a cause for concern, given the supremacist nature of Islam and its declared intention to subsume every other belief system to it.

There is also much discussion about whether Islam can be moderate given the hate-filled verses in the Qu'ran which instruct Muslims how to behave towards and regard non-Muslims. This has led me to examine the texts of the central prayers in each of the three Abrahamic religions as to whether they can be indicators of the intentions of each towards the others and to the wider society.

The Shema

Orthodox Jews recite the Shema in Hebrew. The Shema is an affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God. The obligation to recite the Shema is separate from the obligation to pray and a Jew is obligated to say Shema in the morning and at night (Deut. 6:7). There follows a translation of it, from an Orthodox Jewish site. Jews are forbidden to write the name of God in full, hence the dashes in the words below:

"Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One.

(Recite the following verse in an undertone: )

Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.

You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.

And it will be, if you will diligently obey My commandments which I enjoin upon you this day, to love the L-rd your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, I will give rain for your land at the proper time, the early rain and the late rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine and your oil. And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be sated. Take care lest your heart be lured away, and you turn astray and worship alien gods and bow down to them. For then the L-rd's wrath will flare up against you, and He will close the heavens so that there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce, and you will swiftly perish from the good land which the L-rd gives you. Therefore, place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul, and bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, to speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates — so that your days and the days of your children may be prolonged on the land which the L-rd swore to your fathers to give to them for as long as the heavens are above the earth.

The L-rd spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and tell them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to attach a thread of blue on the fringe of each corner. They shall be to you as tzizit, and you shall look upon them and remember all the commandments of the L-rd and fulfill them, and you will not follow after your heart and after your eyes by which you go astray — so that you may remember and fulfill all My commandments and be holy to your G-d. I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d; I, the L-rd, am your G-d. True.

Note the conditional nature of the second and third paragraphs, taken from Deuteronomy, and how the prayer reminds the one who prays it what will happen if s/he fails to love God and follow His commandments. For all that, however, there is no threat of hellfire for those who stray — the worst the Jewish God threatens is famine.

Turning now to the nearest Christian equivalent, the Lord's Prayer, taken from Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

"Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,

For ever and ever. Amen."

There are commonalities in the Lord's Prayer and the Shema, notably in the declaration that there is one God. One notable difference, however, is the lack of what Carl Rogers would call "conditions of worth" in the latter — there is no threat of famine or anything else if Christians stray from their path. Even so, both the Shema and the Lord's Prayer are essentially loving — the former exhorting belief, the latter assuming it.

If we compare the essential prayers of the first two Abrahamic religions — Judaism and Christianity — with Islam, however, we see fundamental differences. Muslims are commanded to say the salat five times a day as part of their prayer ritual. I have reproduced part of it below, with what I believe to be the most important part in both Arabic and English. The recitation of it is very strictly circumscribed and Muslims are commanded to perform specific actions throughout it.

"Oh Allah, we ask you for help and seek your forgiveness, and we believe in you and have trust in you, and we praise you in the best way and we thank you and we are not ungrateful to you, and we forsake and turn away from the one who disobeys you. O Allah, we worship you only and pray to you and prostrate ourselves before you, and we run towards you and serve you, and we hope to receive your mercy, and we fear your punishment. Surely, the disbelievers will receive your punishment.

And then:

"اللهم إنا نستعينك , ونؤمن بك , ونتوكل عليك , ونثى عليك الخير , ولا نكفرك اللهم إياك نعبد ولك نصلى ونسجد , وإليك نسعى ونحفد , نرجو رحمتك , ونخشى عذابك , إن عذابك الجد بالكفار ملحق , اللهم عذب كفرة أهل الكتاب الذين يصدون عن سبيلك

"Translation: O Allah, verily we seek your help, we believe in you, we put our trust in you and we praise you and we are not ungrateful to you. O Allah, you alone we worship and to you we pray and prostrate, for your sake we strive. We hope for your mercy and fear your punishment, for your punishment will certainly reach the disbelievers. O Allah, punish the infidels of the People of the Book who are preventing others from following your way (emphasis added).

Note the obsequious nature of the relationship with Allah, to fend off his wrath, and which is very much at the submissive polarity of the authoritarian personality spectrum. There is also "..we forsake and turn away from one who disobeys you..." The commandment not to befriend the infidel can be found in the Qu'ran.

Note also "Surely the disbelievers will receive your punishment" which has no counterpart in the Shema or the Lord's Prayer and smacks of the spitefulness of pernicious envy to say the least, and particularly, "O Allah, punish the infidels of the People of the Book who are preventing others from following your way," which underlines the supremacy of Islam in Muslim beliefs and the bitterness that Jews and Christians not only refuse to recognise that but discourage others from recognising it. This has no equivalent in the Jewish and Christian prayers, and it sets the tone for Islam's oppositional — and as we are now seeing, violent — relationship with Judaism and Christianity.

The salat is explicit that no true and mutualistic relationship should exist between Muslim and non-Muslim.

Do even moderate Muslims who attend mosque regularly say these prayers? If they are at all aware of what they are saying, do they believe that what they are saying dictates how they should behave? If not, why are they saying the salat? Even if the Muslim is not aware of its meaning, the supremacist attitude it represents has very probably been inculcated into him/her since childhood and is all of a piece with the hatred of Jews, Christians and all other faiths than Islam, which is absorbed from early years in a Muslim environment.

In the light of all this, how, without hypocrisy, can a Muslim who says salat five times a day, or even only occasionally, engage honestly in interfaith meetings on equal, mutualistic terms with Christians and Jews and other faiths?

The answer is, of course, that he cannot. As the British Islamist preacher Haitham Al-Haddad has noted, not only is the role of Interfaith a deception, it is a deception that is crucial:

"Of course, as Muslims, we believe that this co-existence cannot take place unless they are living under the umbrella of al-Islam ... these visions and strategies are meant to be for a short run, means within fifty years, something like this.

"The far ultimate aim for Muslims is to have Islam governing the whole world, Islamisation of the whole globe. This is the ultimate aim of any Muslim and of all communities, Muslim communities.

"But we are not talking about that at the moment. We are talking about the immediate goals. So, in terms of immediate goals we need this peaceful co-existence, and they claim that they are promoting it and we need to take it from there."

This has also been posted on Inquiry Into Islam here for sharing.


Typecasting: A Manipulation Tool Used by Orthodox Muslims


In Gavin de Becker's book, The Gift of Fear, he describes several indicators that a predator is trying to gain control of a woman (to rape, rob, or murder her). One of these indicators is "typecasting." Here's how de Becker describes it:

A man labels a woman in some slightly critical way, hoping she'll feel compelled to prove that his opinion is not accurate. "You're probably too snobbish to talk to the likes of me," a man might say, and the woman will cast off the mantle of "snob" by talking to him. A man tells a woman, "You don't look like someone who reads the newspaper," and she sets out to prove that she is intelligent and well-informed. When Kelly (an example de Becker was using) refused her attacker's assistance, he said, "There's such a thing as being too proud, you know," and she resisted the label by accepting his help.

Typecasting always involves a slight insult, and usually one that is easy to refute (in our case, the insults include Islamophobic or racist). But since it is the response itself that the typecaster seeks, the defense is silence, acting as if the words weren't even spoken. If you engage, you can win the point, but you might lose something greater. Not that it matters what some stranger thinks of you anyway, but the typecaster doesn't even believe what he says is true. He just believes that it will work.

The Gift of Fear is an excellent book with many useful insights into our resistance against the manipulative attempt to Islamize our countries.

Read a full list of the manipulation methods from the book: Summary of Survival Signals.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Islamic Doctrine in Action


As perplexing as it may be to non-Muslims, jihad is a form of worship.

Allah discouraged Muslims from passive expressions of faith. To prove one's faith, Allah demands action. Specifically and most importantly, jihad — fighting in the way of Allah. Fighting to establish the legal domination of Islam. It is Islam's prime directive.

You and I may think it is wrong, but to a Muslim, it is right. It is commanded by Allah. What could be more right than that to someone who believes it?

The world must awaken to the existence of such a creed and stop blinding itself with wishful thinking. This is not going to go away.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Using Ambiguity to Reduce Ignorance


Have you seen the MEMRI video, posted by Honor Diaries, of a Saudi sheik talking about the virgins of paradise? I posted it on my personal Facebook page with the comment, "Don't you enjoy learning about other cultures?"

I have used ambiguous statements like this before and found them very effective. Some of my friends and family don't quite know how I mean it when I say things like that. Several of my Facebook friends have told me they sometimes can't figure out what side of an issue I'm on. But with people who are very resistant to basic information about Islam, this kind of ambiguity is very effective.

Lots of my Facebook friends watched the video because they were curious. Even my mom watched it. I mix in all kinds of stuff in my Facebook posts. And then I throw something Islam-related in there once in awhile, and even people who might normally avoid looking at that sort of thing read it or watch it because I am not in their face, self-righteously shoving this horrible reality down their throats. They don't see me as an alien, out-of-touch crazy man spouting hate speech.

Several of the people I work with are friends of mine on Facebook, and today at work, I said to one of them, "Did you see that post on my Facebook page today? The sheik talking about paradise?"

"Yeah, I did," he said, shaking his head.

"Crazy, right?" I said this to join him in his world. In the past he's been reluctant to consider the possibility that basic, mainstream Islamic teachings are violent and intolerant. But he has slowly come around to a better understanding of the painful and disturbing facts about Islamic doctrine. Then I said, "I recognized some of what he said from the Koran, but the rest of it must be in the Hadith, which I haven't read." He already knew I've read the Koran. I said this because I wanted to make sure he understood that these were not merely the mad ravings of a sheik, but the tenets of basic Islamic doctrine, faithfully expressed.

Then I said, "It's amazing that this stuff is televised." He nodded. "That was a video by MEMRI," I said. "which stands for 'Middle East Media Research Institute.' That's all they do: They take programs that air on TV in the Muslim world and translate them into English. You see the most amazing stuff on there."

Another guy had walked in on this conversation, and he asked, "Like what other kind of stuff?"

I said, "Like a video I saw today showing a Palestinian cleric giving a Friday 'sermon' while waving a knife around, and telling the listeners in the mosque (and on TV!) how to stab Israelis."

I talk about many things at work, but every once in a while, when a good opportunity presents itself, I try to inject a little solid information about Islam. I want people to understand that there is a well-established written doctrine, and it is aggressive, intolerant, and violent, and when they see Muslims acting this way, they are not seeing insane "extremists," taking Islam's peaceful teachings out of context; they are seeing faithful believers following the true teachings of Islam.

But to get this message across with any degree of success, I have learned from bitter experience that it has to be done with some ingenuity and flexibility. And one of the methods that really helps is to use ambiguity. The question I added to the MEMRI video on my Facebook page is a good example: "Don't you enjoy learning about other cultures?"

That can be taken at least two ways: I might mean it as sarcasm. Or I might mean it sincerely. It is certainly interesting to learn about other cultures.

As we've written before, one good reason (among many) to learn more about Islam — a reason that a multiculturalist would surely subscribe to — is that it is enlightening to learn about other cultures and to avoid being ill-educated, unworldly, or one-sided about your own culture. So my comment especially motivated those kinds of people, and those are the very people who are not being reached with this information, and who are most in need of a new understanding of Islam.

Using ambiguity this way is a no-lose situation. Those who are already acquainted with Islam will not change their minds, and if it makes the rest of them curious enough to watch the video, they will be closer to waking up to the problem of Islam.

In this way, ambiguity can help you get past peoples' defenses.

In the conversation above, after I said I had read some of that stuff in the Koran, I said, "The Koran seemed so blatant in its lavish descriptions of Paradise and its scary descriptions of hell. It was so obviously self-serving, I'm surprised anyone bought it. L. Ron Hubbard had a better shtick!"

Let me explain why I added that last comment. First of all, L. Ron Hubbard is the creator of Scientology, and I have already talked to my workmate several times about Scientology, and he and I are in agreement that Scientology is a religion with dangerous policies and bizarre beliefs. But as we've advocated here many times, you can use Scientology to make it clear that criticizing religions is a perfectly fine thing to do. Whenever you criticize Scientology, you will never get any flak, unless the person you're talking to is a Scientologist. Nobody ever argues with you or tries to defend Scientology. So by adding this comment, I changed the feel of our conversation from an Islam-bashing session to a civilized discussion of the merits of different religious creeds.

Hopefully we're all getting better at having these conversations about Islam. I encourage you to share what works here: Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims. Let's help each other improve our success rate.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Improve Your Persuasion Powers By Speaking Their Language


Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to pay attention today to the words people use to describe their experience. Find out what "representational system" they use the most. Once you learn how to do this, you can start talking to people in a way that will reach them, because you'll be using the representational system they favor. But for now, your mission is to simply identify the primary representational system of everyone you talk to today.

Now that I've given you the mission, I'm going to explain it. A "representational system" is one of three things: Visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. When you think or remember, you are representing reality in your mind. For example, you can remember what happened yesterday by seeing mental pictures. That would be using your visual representational system. Or you could remember by recalling what someone told you yesterday or the sounds you heard yesterday. That would be using your auditory representational system. Or you could remember how you felt yesterday. That's using your kinesthetic representational system.

This all sounds terribly complicated, but it's not. We have three primary ways to store and recall reality: Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Many of our memories or imaginings include all three representational systems, of course. In other words, you remember what you saw, what you heard, and what you felt.

But all of us tend to "favor" one representational system over the others, in the same way that you are right-handed or left-handed. You tend to use one representational system more than others. You tend to store your most important information in that representational system. You tend to respect and respond to information presented in that representational system more than you would if it was presented using a different representational system.

In other words, if you are a visually-oriented person, and I speak to you using visual terms, what I say will have more impact, will be more persuasive, will be more memorable to you than if I spoke to you using auditory terms.

Speaking in visual terms would be saying things like, "When you read the Quran, you will see things in a whole new light. You'll get the big picture." Speaking in auditory terms would be saying things like, "When you read the Quran, you are hearing the words of Mohammad the way Muslims around the world hear them. It may sound like what I'm saying does not make sense, but once you read the Quran, it will click for you." Speaking in kinesthetic terms would be saying things like, "When you read the Quran you'll grasp the overall negative, hostile feeling of Mohammad and Allah toward non-Muslims." Click here to find more examples of the kinds of words that indicate the three different representational systems.

But before attempting to speak someone's language, you must first know what it is. How can you know? By listening to the way people describe things when they talk. That's your assignment today. And ideally, you would keep it up every day until you can easily know what representational system people favor. Once you can do that, speaking someone's language is easy.

This exercise will increase your observational powers. And it will increase your ability to connect to people and influence them.

You can practice all day long. Anytime you are speaking with someone, pay attention to which words they use. Which sensory system are they talking about?

This is not as hard as you would think. If I told you to determine whether someone was right or left handed, you would be able to tell just by watching, don't you think? If you observed the person's behavior for awhile, you'd easily identify which hand they favor. You may have known the person for awhile and didn't know if they were right or left handed, but once you pay attention, once you're looking for it, you can find out just by paying attention.

You can do the same to discover the representational system they favor. It is only a matter of paying attention.

We need to reach people. We need to help them understand what we understand about the third jihad. We need to get past their barriers to listening. So we need to get really good at gaining rapport with people. One excellent way to improve our rapport and help people to listen to (and respect) what we say is to speak their language — to use the representational system they favor most when we speak.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


When You Meet Resistance


Milton Erickson was an accomplished and well-respected psychiatrist who created innovative therapeutic techniques and was able to cure or significantly help many seriously mentally ill patients whose cases had stumped every other psychiatrist who had tried to help them before Erickson.

I once read something Erickson wrote that struck me as profound and important at the time, but it wasn't until many years later when I began trying to share what I was learning about Islam that what he wrote became personally relevant. He said in psychiatric literature, they talk a lot about "resistant patients." This is a common phenomenon in psychiatry: Patients often put up psychological barriers to change. Frequently, the mental illness causes intense suffering for the patient, yet patients will often resist change. From the point of view of the psychiatric literature, the resistance originates in the patient.

Erickson's point of view was entirely different. And I believe his different point of view led to his many innovations in the field and allowed him to successfully treat patients who were unreachable by other competent psychiatrists:

Erickson considered a resistant patient to be an indication of his own lack of skill. 

In other words, if he was skilled enough at dealing with a particular human psyche, there would be no resistance. If his rapport with the patient was strong enough, there would be no resistance. If he had the right approach, there would be no resistance. And in fact, many times Erickson was able to help "resistant" subjects nobody else could help because he would use their resistance. He would say things like, "I don't want you to change too quickly" and they would resist him by changing immediately.

I often think about this when I run into someone who "just won't listen." My first instinctive response is, "This person is too self-righteous and stubborn to listen." But then I remember Erickson's perspective, and I think maybe I'm just not skilled enough yet. And I wonder, "What might get through to this person?"

We've got a real problem here. If national policies are going to change, a significant percentage of non-Muslims will need to be acquainted with the basic gist of Islamic doctrine. And for this to happen, it is up to us. The media will not do it for us. Politicians won't do it. School teachers aren't going to do it. If it's going to happen, it will be we few who do it — those of us who are now acquainted with Islamic doctrine.

And of course, you've already discovered that a significant proportion of the general population resists learning about Islam. One way to interpret this is, "They are idiots. They won't listen to the facts." Another way to interpret it is, "I must not be skilled enough yet. I wonder what kind of approach might get through to this person? I wonder what new skill I could learn that would make it possible?"

I propose to you that we will accomplish our goal much faster with the second interpretation than we will with the first. And on this topic, speed is important. To see a good example of this approach in action, watch Freedom Writers, get inspired, and then get to work improving your abilities and coming up with new ways to approach the task. And as you discover ways that work, share them with us here: Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims.

P.S. For efficiency's sake, it is important to focus first on the undecided.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Why Aren't All Muslims Violent?


If it's true that devout believers in Islamic doctrine would kill all non-believers, why aren't there more deaths? Someone asked us this question, and the answer is very interesting.

First of all, many Muslims are really not practicing or devout Muslims, just like in any other religion. They don't even know the doctrine of their own religion. They were simply born a Muslim and so that's what they call themselves.

There are also those who know what the doctrine says but they don't want to do some of it, so they ignore certain teachings even though it says in the doctrine you must not ignore any of its directives.

But for the true believers, the orthodox Muslims (and according to Islamic doctrine) the goal is not indiscriminate murder. Killing is one tool allowed to be used to accomplish the goal, which is to establish the law of Allah everywhere on earth. The goal is not even to make everyone Muslim, but to make sure everyone is under the rule of Islamic law. It can be done in many ways, and it is being done in many ways all over the world.

In the U.S., for example, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is, by the way, the largest international Islamic organization in the world, has created many organizations that work to establish Islamic law incrementally. They've got their members into high places in the government, they have teams of lawyers who sue people or put pressure on companies when one of their employees is critical of Islam (one of the laws of Islam is that nobody can criticize Islam), they have organizations that influence what is printed in our public school systems about Islam, they've got organizations that pressure Hollywood to depict Muslims in a positive light, and on and on.

They don't advocate violence, but not for moral reasons. They advocate these nonviolent methods for strategic reasons. They feel that violence doesn't help the cause yet. But they take full advantage of violent episodes by other Muslims, having press conferences about fears of "backlash" and blaming free speech for the atrocities. 

The Muslim Brotherhood plan was first uncovered in an FBI raid. They have created what is called the “Civilization-Jihadist Process” – a term taken from a key 1991 Brotherhood document, "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," submitted as evidence by the Justice Department in the landmark 2008 U.S. versus Holy Land Foundation, a HAMAS terror funding trial. Here's what the document says:

“The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers, so that is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

By its nature, the object of such a stealthy form of jihad is to ensure that the target community remains unaware of the extent of the threat until it is too late.

Another group working nonviolently toward Islam's prime directive is the OIC (the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — the “collective voice of the Muslim world” and second largest intergovernmental organization in the world after the United Nations, and the largest voting block in the UN). Their goal is to establish a limit on free speech worldwide. It is one small step in the direction of Islamic law.

OIC General Secretary Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu admitted in a speech in June of 2008 that the OIC is working to criminalize speech that offends Muslims, noting their success is causing the West to deter "freedom of expression." Ihsanoglu said, "In confronting the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film Fitna, we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed."

For strategic long-game reasons, then, not even all orthodox Muslims are violent.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Does it Really Matter What the Doctrine Says?


Did you know it is a Mormon practice to fast once a month for 24 hours? Not all Mormons practice it, but the practice is recommended in the Mormon doctrine.

Did you know it is a Muslim practice for husbands to hit their wives if they disobey? Not all Muslims practice it, but the practice is recommended in Islamic doctrine.

What is different about those two statements? The first and most obvious difference is that the content of the doctrine is different. The actual teaching is different.

To many people, the statement about the Muslim practice seems like a criticism. But in the Muslim world, hitting a disobedient wife is not considered a bad thing to do. It is recommended in the Koran, so a devout Muslim may not want non-Muslims to know about the practice, but among themselves, if they truly believe the doctrine, it is not negative at all. In the Middle East, they have talk shows discussing the ins and outs of this practice. Where on her body should you hit your wife? Under what circumstances is it permitted?

So in mixed company (Muslims and non-Muslims in the same room talking to each other), it may be an insulting thing for a non-Muslim to say, but to a Muslim in his own mind, it is not insulting any more than the statements about the Mormon practice is to a Mormon.

Some people may disagree with the Mormon practice of fasting. Maybe they think it's unhealthy or too difficult. But it is just fine to say this is part of their religion, whether you like the practice or not. The same is true for wife beating in Islam or the obligation of jihad. This is part of their religion. When you get resistance from people, make this point. This will not only clarify that it is okay to talk about religious beliefs, no matter which religion it is, you will simultaneously make a second very important point: Different religions have different beliefs and practices. Not all religions are the same. And those different practices have real consequences in the world. The rules don't only apply to spiritual, non-physical practices.

Use this example in your conversations. These discussions need to be happening with our friends and family — as gently and kindly as possible, but also as effectively as possible.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


How to Resist Islamic Encroachment and Still Be Happy


In a scene from the movie, Armageddon, a young couple is on a picnic, just being with each other and feeling in love, but with a tinge of sadness. He has to leave the next day, and there's a chance he won't survive the mission. It's getting dark. This may be their last moments alone together. And if the mission doesn't succeed, the entire human species will be extinguished.

She said, "Do you think there are others in the world doing just what we're doing right now?"

He said, "I hope so; otherwise, what are we trying to save?"

In the counterjihad movement, we know what we're trying to save, don't we? We're trying to save the Western world, freedom and human rights. Why? Because our political systems are the best ones ever invented to allow people to pursue happiness. It is worth protecting. It's worth defending. But do we have to be miserable to do it?

Each of us discovered Islam's prime directive, and each of us felt motivated to help others learn about the basic elements of Islam, and most of us ran face-first into a wall of anger and resistance and argument and judgment and self-righteousness, and our desire to simply help educate our fellow non-Muslims has become a stressful, eternally-upsetting, arduous chore.

Many drop out of the counterjihad movement because of the stress. They've lost friends. They've alienated relatives. Their life has become no fun. They've lost their happiness.

So they drop out. They burn out. They stop talking about it. The whole exercise seems futile, upsetting, and unbearably frustrating. They think to themselves, "It is going to take a nuclear weapon going off in downtown Chicago before these idiots wake up?" And they give up the fight and leave it to fate.

We can't afford to lose these people. We need to not only educate our fellow non-Muslims, but we need to keep the educated ones in the fight with us. We need to prevent the burnout. That means we need to make sure fighting the good fight doesn't make us so miserable.

Another good reason to focus some attention on this issue is that (as every sales organization has discovered) people who are unhappy are lousy at influencing others. Most people are repelled and repulsed by unhappy, angry, frustrated, depressed people. Nobody wants to listen to someone like that. People don't want to be influenced by someone like that. People don't want to become like that.

So how can we remain in the counterjihad and still be happy? As silly as it may sound, this is an important question.

We have one thing working in our favor already: Having a meaningful purpose contributes greatly to a feeling of happiness and fulfillment. And if there is one thing we all share in the counterjihad movement, it is a meaningful feeling of purpose. This is often ruined, however, by living in a permanent state of upset, anger, and frustration.

How can we keep the positive feeling of a fulfilling purposefulness while reducing the negative, stressful emotions? If we can solve that problem, fewer of us would drop out of the fight, and our effectiveness would increase.

I don't think there is a single answer to this question. But we have many things we can do to reduce the stressfulness of our purpose and allow us to feel happier while still being a dedicated citizen warrior. For example:

1. Collect and associate with allies. Stay in communication with others in the counterjihad movement. This lowers the stressful feeling of being an isolated outcast. Find like-minded people on Facebook. Join ACT! for America and attend their meetings. Join Infidels United and check in every day. Knowing you have people on your side, knowing you're not alone, reduces stress.

2. Improve your effectiveness. Add new skills to your persuasion repertoire. Add new approaches. Success is uplifting. Failure is frustrating and demoralizing. So the better you get at reaching people — the better you get at making your message penetrate and have an impact — the less stressful the process is.

3. Use a stress-reduction technique. There are many different ways to directly reduce stress (see a good list of them here). Find one that works for you and do it when you feel too stressed out. It can make a huge difference in your feeling of well-being and happiness. It's healthy too.

4. Connect with people you love. Connecting produces oxytocin, an anti-stress hormone researchers believe is the antidote or counterbalance to stress hormones. One hormone (adrenaline) is for revving up your system to deal with threats; the other hormone (oxytocin) is for calming you down and rejuvenating and healing. Make sure these stay in balance.

5. Avoid talking about or reading about Islam an hour before bedtime. This habit has helped me a lot. It makes my sleep more restful. Try it and see if it works the same for you.

6. Use a mental checklist like cognitive distortions occasionally to clear your mind. It can greatly reduce your feelings of stress and reveal ways to think differently that can prevent stress in the future.

7. Don't try to do everything. Focus on the one aspect of the purpose that interests you most and that you are most motivated to do. Relax by reminding yourself that there are many of us with you in this fight, and we each have our own specialties and inclinations, and trust that all of it will be done. You can focus on the one thing you're most compelled to do and let the rest go. Let others do what they do, and you do what you do.

8. Don't watch much mainstream news. Don't overdo it on the news, period. Especially watching news; it is stressful and can be demoralizing. When mainstream news talks about Islam, the amount of distortion can be downright maddening. Take it in small doses.

9. Do less of the actual persuasion yourself and let DVDs, books, and articles do some of the work for you. Many people will automatically discount what you say about Islam, no matter how much you know, because they don't consider you an authority. This can be frustrating and stressful. But when they watch DVDs showing interviewed experts, they might be more inclined to accept the information. Not only that, but a 90-minute DVD can deliver a lot of information, saving you time and trouble. Focus on persuading people to watch a DVD rather than focusing on persuading them to listen to you about Islam. It's a more efficient use of your time. Learn more about sharing DVDs and articles.

10. Do your best to see things from the other side's point of view. We often get into a right-wrong, us-versus-them, all-or-nothing position, and part of the reason this is stressful is that the world is not as black-and-white as this oppositional stance tries to make it. The other side of this worldwide debate has some legitimate points, and it eases a lot of stress (and makes your arguments more persuasive) to understand those legitimate points and to graciously concede them.

11. Be committed to perpetual learning. Every time something stresses you out, take the time to improve yourself. What can you do differently next time that will make it less stressful? The process of learning and growing itself can give you a lift and reduce stress.

That's our list so far. Please add your own ideas in the comments, or email them to me and I'll post them here for you. Let's help each other fight the good fight and be happy too.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Nobody Goes Back

Over the years, we've heard from hundreds of people who have changed their minds about Islam. They once believed Islam was similar to other religions, but eventually, either because of events in the news or some earnest investigation, they came to the realization that Islam is a) unique and b) not a religion of peace.

But we (the two people who run Citizen Warrior) realized in a conversation the other day that we've never — not once — heard from someone (or even heard about someone) who went the other way. Nobody has ever told us that they were counterjihadists but changed their minds and decided Islam was, in fact, a religion of peace.

Not once have we ever heard of someone who thought Islam was dangerous but then changed their mind because of events in the news or because they read more about it, and decided Islamic doctrine wasn't dangerous to non-Muslims after all.

Nobody goes back.

This is an encouraging realization. The disturbing nature of Islamic doctrine requires no convincing or persuading. A person only has to look, and there it is. And once it is seen, it cannot be unseen. The article we recently posted to Inquiry Into Islam is a good example. Read it here: I'm Running Out of Ways to Defend Islam. It is the confession of a liberal writer who has been trying to find ways to defend Islam, but the facts keep stacking up against the proposition.

The facts about Islam only move people in one direction: Toward the realization that Islamic doctrine is a straightforward exposition of a pernicious and dangerous ideology. The reason it only moves people in one direction is because it's true.

Always On Watch left a comment on our recent article, How Do You Know You've Gotten Through? She wrote, "The burning alive of the Jordanian pilot did a great deal to wake up those with whom I work. At long last! I've been trying to wake up these folks for years."

We've heard the same comment over and over. Some event, some atrocity, some new outrage caused someone to finally look into it — or it was the straw that broke the camel's back — and they suddenly switched from someone who thought Islam was a religion of peace to someone who realizes it isn't. For some people it was the Madrid train bombings. For some it was the Fort Hood shooting. For some it was Lee Rigby's murder. The atrocities keep stacking up, and with the advent of ISIS and its penchant for videos, the number of non-Muslims waking up greatly accelerated.

After our conversation, we made a short list of suggestions that arose naturally from this realization:

1. When we are talking to people who still don't accept the painful truth, we should seek to inform, not persuade. We don't need to convince them because there's only one direction it can go. Our purpose should be to just get them to look.

2. When sharing articles and videos, use sources they will respect. If your friend is a liberal, for example, use liberal sources, and don't share anything that puts down liberals or makes fun of them. If your friend is a scientist, use scientific sources, or at least sources that would be respected by a scientist, and don't share anything mystical or religious. And so on.

3. In advertising, it is often said that people need at least six exposures to something before they begin to accept it. So take the pressure off any particular conversation. Say a little something and then let it go. A few weeks later, say a little something else. Don't argue. Don't rub their nose in it. Just give a little information, delivered casually and matter of factly, and then go on to something else. This gives their psyche time to process a very painful idea that nobody in his right mind would want to accept: That 1.6 billion people on the planet claim membership in an ideology whose main purpose is to eliminate all other cultures, using violence if necessary. Let that ugly truth sink into their minds slowly, a little bit at a time.

4. The reason to tread lightly is to prevent them from feeling the need to defend their position. When you push too hard and make someone defend their point of view, they will often hang onto it longer and may hang onto it forever out of sheer stubbornness and self-righteousness. But when someone hasn't had to justify or rationalize their opinion in public, it is much easier for them to change their minds.

5. Probably our best approach is to try to make people curious about Islam, so they look into it for themselves. And direct them to accurate sources.

Remember, nobody goes back. Once Islam is seen for what it is, the illusion is shattered forever. Keep that in mind and take your time.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


A Game Worth Playing

I was talking to a 30 year-old man the other day (read our conversation here). When I mentioned that madrassas have been cranking out fundamentalists for years, I could tell he immediately felt the situation was hopeless. Instead of being motivated to do something about it, he told me the next day it made him want to drop out of everything and see the world before it was gone.

I was thinking about this afterward, and I've thought of a way to speak to this young mindset. He loves playing video games, as many young men of that age do, especially Halo and Destiny.

Halo is one of the most popular video games of all time. The game is about an interstellar war between the human race and theocratic aliens whose leaders are called the Prophets. I'm not making this up.

A newer game, created by the same people, has also proved to be immensely popular. It's called Destiny. The player must try to protect humanity from aliens who would wipe out the human race.

In other words, when he wants to have fun, he and millions of others like him, fight (in a video game) for a great cause. But when a real live version of this game appears, he wants to drop out of the world and travel? In the future, when this comes up in a conversation, I'm going to say something like this: "Come on man! You could be the hero you fantasize about. What we have been given is a game truly worth playing."

I will try to make it clear to him that he could, in real life, fight against a great evil in the world. We face a very real existential threat to the human race, to women's rights, to freedom of speech, to freedom of religion, to art, to science, to everything good about modern civilization, and there is something he could do to defend it.

The best stories, the best movies, the best video games all have one thing in common: Big stakes, big evil, and a few good people with a small chance of saving the world. I believe every human heart yearns for such a "game," such a cause, such a purpose.

I thought this idea might be useful for all of us. We need to find a way to infuse this perspective into the hearts of our young men and women. We need to help them understand that this cause is what they have been looking for.

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. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


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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