If You Can Be So Bold

Sunday

A while back, I told you about Michael, a man who uses a business card with a QR code on it to educate his fellow citizens about Islam. Read about it here (he added some good ideas about using the cards in the comments of the article). Michael does something else creative and bold: He wrote this on the back window of his car:


You can click on the image to see it larger. He wrote this: On my days off work, I can be found driving up and down very busy streets and Interstates in the Kansas City area, purposely driving just a smidgen slower than traffic, so vehicles read my back window, pass, then more vehicles have a chance to get a look at the back window of my vehicle. I haven't been called bashful for a long time.

We created InquiryIntoIslam.com as a website citizen warriors could use to share with people who really know nothing about Islam. It's a beginner's website. This is a great use of that resource.

I asked Michael if I could publish his picture, and he wrote back with this:

I would be honored if you would publish the picture of my back window on your website. That would be great if others would be willing to do the same, to get the word out. I am only guessing, but would estimate that hundreds, perhaps 500-1000 vehicles (cars, trucks, 18-wheelers) passed by that back window in just a matter of a few hours of driving during rush hour traffic this past Monday. This next time I will make the handwriting look cleaner, more presentable.

No doubt others may wonder "Hmm... where can I get the non-permanent, large, white paint markers to use for the writing?" Well, they are not that easy to find, let me tell you. I spent a bit of time searching the web for something that I felt would work and ended up purchasing these on amazon.com (link below), but the quality isn't the greatest, which I noted in the reviews section.  They are imported, and while they look nice, both markers in the 2-pack began to fail before I got full life out of them. So, there's that.

But there are other options out there, large white wax crayons (I found some at a lumber store), even ordering custom decals for those people who are able to spend more for a better look and are able to keep the message on their automobiles 7 days a week.  Some decals are a "peel and stick," for remove and reapply.

There are some thoughts there for others, that I had to go through for myself.

Oh! Also, you may wish to make sure you mention, or provide a link for them that they can click on, that will use your Amazon link, so you get that money that helps to support your ministry, when they buy the markers from Amazon. Every little bit helps, right? Just a thought, you can even suggest they Bookmark the Amazon link (like I did) and save it to the top of their browser so it is easy to find next time they buy something/anything from Amazon. My bookmarked icon/link automatically uses your link to Amazon.

Thank you!

Mike

For non-permanent White Paint Markers, here's the link: Uni Posca Paint Marker PC-17K White.


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.

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The History of Islamic Violence, Enslavement, and Ransom is Important for People to Know About

Tuesday

Yesterday I was talking with some of my fellow co-workers on a break and we were talking about the Charlie Hebdo massacre. One of them said, "The French brought this on themselves, you know."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

He said, "Algiers used to be a French colony, so of course, a lot of the Muslims there could speak French, and since it was a colony, the French said anybody from Algiers could move to France. So now they have a huge Muslim population."

I thought this was a good opportunity to add some history. I think Islam's contact with the West down through history is important for people to know because many people still think of Islamic "extremism" as a modern phenomenon. Whenever someone brings up a recent news story involving Islamic violence, I try to think of some way to add a little historical context. So I asked, "Do you know why Algiers became a French colony? It's an interesting story."

Everyone likes an interesting story. I was talking to three people. I had their attention. "Have you ever heard of the Barbary Coast Pirates?" I was surprised when everybody said no. "They were Muslim countries along the Mediterranean coast of north Africa — Tunisia, Algiers, Morocco, and Tripoli (now known as Libya) — that captured ships doing business in the Mediterranean and took the ship, stole the cargo on board, and sold the crew into slavery. They did this for hundreds of years. And when a country complained, they said, 'If you pay us a yearly tribute, we will not attack ships from your country.' Many countries paid this tribute. It was cheaper than war. And paying the tribute effectively allowed them to harass their fellow European countries (their economic competitors) without being blamed for it. The United States didn't have a navy to protect their merchant ships, so they paid the tribute too.

"Of course all this tribute money made the Barbary Pirates more powerful. But when Jefferson became president, the U.S. built a navy and defeated Tripoli. It was the beginning of the end of the whole Barbary racket. Eventually the British, the Dutch and the French brought their own navies to bear on the Barbary coast, and the pirate raiding by these Muslim countries slowed down. Algiers was the last one still doing it, so France completely conquered Algiers and made it into a colony."

Sometimes I get on a roll, and while I had them all in rapt attention, something else occurred to me. "Do you know why Jefferson was so decisive about this? That's another interesting story."

None of them knew the answer and they all looked like they wanted to know, so I said, "Back before he was President, he was an ambassador to France and he found an opportunity to speak with the ambassador from Tripoli, and he asked him, 'Why does your country attack our ships? We have no hostility with your nation.'

"The Tripoli ambassador was honest. He said, 'It is written in our Koran that we must attack and enslave any country that doesn't acknowledge the sanctity of our Prophet.'

"After that conversation, Jefferson bought a Koran and read it. And he realized that there is no bargaining with these people. There is no such thing as peaceful coexistence or mutually beneficial commerce unless you come to them from a position of power. So when he became president, he put a stop to the tribute for good by force."

At this point, we had to get back to work, so the conversation ended.

Telling interesting historical facts like this, without being too heavy-handed with the Islamic doctrine, allows people to slowly come to realize the truth about Islam, without me ever getting into an argument with them about it. They come to their own conclusions. Historical tidbits like these make the task a whole lot easier.

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Muslims Captured and Enslaved Hundreds of Americans

The following passages are excerpted from the excellent book, The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805, by Richard Zacks:

In 1801, just after the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson, Tripoli had become the first country ever to declare war on the United States. The ruler, Yussef Karamanli, had ordered his Janissaries to chop down the flagpole at the U.S. consulate to signal his grave displeasure with the slow trickle of gifts from America. Jefferson, when he learned the news, had responded by sending a small fleet to confront Tripoli and try to overawe it into a peace treaty.

For more than two centuries, the Barbary countries of Morocco, Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli (now called Libya) had been harassing Christian ships, seizing cargo and capturing citizens. Algiers once boasted more than 30,000 Christian slaves, including one Miguel Cervantes, before he wrote Don Quixote. European powers in the 1500s and 1600s fought ferocious battles against Muslim pirates like Barbarosa. However, over time, a cynical system of appeasement had developed. The nations of Europe paid tribute — in money, jewels, and naval supplies — to remain at peace. England and France — in endless wars — found it cheaper to bribe the Barbary pirates than to devote a squadron to perpetually trawling the sea off Africa. At its core, expediency outweighed national honor.

When the thirteen American colonies split off from mother England, they lost British protection. The United States found itself lumped in the pile of potential Barbary victims, alongside the likes of Sardinia and Sicily. (From 1785 to 1815, more than six hundred American citizens would be captured and enslaved. This nuisance would prove to be no mere foreign trade issue but rather a near-constant hostage crisis.)

In colonial days, preacher Cotton Mather had described Barbary slaves as living for years in dug-out pits with a crosshatch of bars above... Galley slaves also lived to tell of being chained naked to an oar, forced to row ten hours at a stretch. Slaves, facing forward, pushed the forty-foot-long oars by rocking back to near horizontal, as though in a grotesque limbo contest, and then lurching with full strength, again and again. During hard chases, they were sustained by a wine-soaked rag shoved in their mouths...

Rituals varied, but in one account (of a North African slave auction) an American stated that after being purchased: "I was forced to lie down in the street and take the foot of my new master and place it upon my neck." Another described being forced to lick the dust along a thirty-foot path to the throne of the [king] of Algiers (now called Algeria).

John Foss survived captivity in Algiers, and his popular account ran in several American newspapers in the late 1790s, fleshing out the nightmare. He wrote of prisoners (Americans who had been captured on American ships and enslaved) routinely shackled with forty-pound chains, forced to perform sunrise-to-sunset labor ranging from digging out sewers to hauling enormous rocks for the harbor jetty. He matter-of-factly described the most common Barbary punishment for light infractions: bastinado of 150 strokes: "The person is laid upon his face, with his hands in irons behind him and his legs lashed together with a rope. One taskmaster holds down his head and another his legs, while two others inflict the punishment upon his breech (his buttocks) with sticks, somewhat larger than an ox goad. After he has received one half in this manner, they lash his ankles to a pole, and two Turks (Muslims) lift the pole up, and hold it in such a manner, as he brings the soles of his feet upward, and the remainder of his punishment, he receives upon the soles of his feet."

In 1803, Tripoli captured the Philadelphia. The Americans onboard the beautiful 1,200-ton American frigate were captured too, most of them enslaved.

The loss of the Philadelphia and its 307 crewmen and officers on Kaliusa Reef in Tripoli harbor marked a national disaster for the young United States. The Bashaw (king of Tripoli), a wily and worthy adversary, would set his first ransom demand for the American slaves at $1,690,000, more than the entire military budget of the United States.

Navy officers like the fierce Captain John Rodgers would beg for the chance to attack Tripoli to avenge and free his comrades; diplomats such as Tobias Lear, a Harvard graduate, yearned for the glory of negotiating their release. But the man who would one day speed their freedom more than all others was a stubby disgraced former army officer...

Here's a quote by William Eaton (the stubby former army officer): "If the Congress do not consent that the government shall send a force into the Mediterranean to check the insolence of these scoundrels and to render the United States respectable, I hope they will resolve at their next session to wrest the quiver of arrows from the left talon of the American Eagle...and substitute a fiddle bow or a cigar in lieu."

Eaton also said, "Let my fellow-citizens be persuaded that there is no borne limit to the avarice of the Barbary princes; like the insatiable grave, they can never have enough. Consign them the revenues of the United States as the price of peace, they would still tax our labors for more veritable expressions of friendship. But it is a humiliating consideration to the industrious citizen, the sweat of whose brow supports him with bread, that a tithe from his hard earnings must go to the purchase of oil of roses to perfume the pirate's beard!

"It is true that Denmark and Sweden (and even the United States, following their example) gratuitously furnish almost all their materials for ship-building and munitions of war; besides the valuable jewels and large sums of money we are continually paying into their hands for their forbearance, and for the occasional ransom of captives...Without these resources they would soon sink under their own ignorance and want of means to become mischievous. Why this humiliation? Why furnish them the means to cut our own throats?"

After the crew of the Philadelphia was enslaved, the captives were hoping the U.S. government would pay their ransom and bring them home.

Everyone knew that ransom might take months or years, but they also knew that there existed a simple way for the men to become free immediately, and that was to convert to Islam. Less than three weeks into captivity, John Wilson, a quartermaster born in Sweden, decided to "turn Turk" (convert), as did Thomas Prince, a seventeen-year-old from Rhode Island. Three more Americans would follow them.

The officials of Tripoli, who encouraged and allowed the religious conversion, took the matter seriously. Since the Koran forbids Muslims from enslaving Muslims, a conversion meant freedom from slavery. As Ray put it, "Thomas Prince was metamorphosed from a Christian to a Turk." His choice word metamorphosed was quite apt. Not only did the ritual involve words of faith and promises to perform new rituals, but also a change of clothes and that inevitable loss of foreskin. While circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran (as it is in the Old Testament, Genesis 17:11), the rite became sanctified by Muslim theologians as far back as the seventh and eighth centuries.

The main story of the book is that William Eaton and seven U.S. Marines organized and led a group of thousands of enemies of the king of Tripoli and captured the second biggest city in the country, making the king willing to negotiate a treaty and return the captured Americans. A few years later, the American navy became powerful enough to put a permanent end to the Muslim capture of American ships in the Mediterranean.

The above (except what is in italics) was excerpted from the book, The Pirate Coast, by Richard Zack. Without ever saying it explicitly, these excerpts demonstrate that aggression toward Western nations in the name of Islam is not a modern phenomenon, and is not caused by recent grievances. Modern grievances used to justify violence are pretexts, used since Mohammad's time (read more about that here). The reason Thomas Jefferson knew this is because he read the Koran.  

If you would like to share the excerpts above, we've posted these same passages on Inquiry Into Islam (to make it easier to share). Use this link: Hundreds of Americans Were Captured and Enslaved

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An Idea For Educating Your Fellow Citizens

A creative reader wrote in to show us what he's doing. It's a great idea. We encourage you to do something similar. This is what he said about it:

I was thinking to myself, how can I get the word out about the danger of political Islam to more people, especially when I am in a hurry running errands, etc., going about my day? There are times when I don't have time for discussions, but could leave something behind for someone to check out a website. The possibilities are nearly endless. In today's culture, just about everyone is online. I could probably pass out dozens, if not hundreds, each month in various areas around the city.

I had the idea and designed this on business card stock. I can get 500 for about $8.50 + shipping. Very affordable.

Please feel free to share this idea with others.

If I can reach hundreds in one city, and some of them can reach others, imagine how fast 20, 50, or 100 others that would be willing to do the same, could exponentially reach thousands where they live!


Here's what the front looks like:


And here's what the back of the card looks like:

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Inflammatory Rhetoric

Sunday

I was talking to a friend of mine about Islam. The latest attack was fresh on everyone's mind, and we were talking about it. He doesn't like it when I say negative things about Islam, although he doesn't really argue with me too much.

I told him to think about it this way: Jehovah's Witnesses go door to door to promote their religion. I know not all of them do this, but they are supposed to. It's part of their religious practice.

He said, "Yeah, I know."

"Well," I said, "jihad is part of Islam. Not all of them do it, but they are all supposed to. It's part of their religious practice."

He just looked at me with a face that said, "I can't listen to you say such things!"

"I don't like it when Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door," I said, "but I don't hate people who are Jehovah's Witnesses. In high school, one of my good friends was a Jehovah's Witness. So you can dislike a religious practice or dislike an ideology, and not have any hatred of any particular person who is a member of that religion or ideology."

"I know you're not a hateful person," he admitted, while still holding a facial expression that said, "I still don't like any of this."

"Schindler was a Nazi," I said.

He blurted out, "I know, I know, but I guess I'm just afraid of inflammatory rhetoric, not from you, but from other people who are on the same track, talking about the same topic."

Finally, we were getting somewhere. "But don't you see," I said, following my own advice, "that's exactly why we need to be talking about this now — before a Muslim sets off a nuclear bomb in the middle of New York City. Can you imagine the inflammatory rhetoric you'd get then? When most people are still ignorant of the real situation? People need to talk about this now, while everyone is relatively calm."

Then I had a thought. I said, "I've been learning about this topic for a long time, and I have rarely come across inflammatory rhetoric. Every once in awhile someone will say something hateful or crazy on a comment on a Facebook page or blog, but that's about it. But contrast that with the truly inflammatory rhetoric that is on Middle East television every day. Are you concerned about that? They have people on their national TV urging Muslims to stab Israelis to death!"

He said, "I read about that..."

"And they're doing it!" I said a little too loudly. "But that's just one example. They talk about destroying Israel and the United States. They talk about how we are the most evil people on earth and need to be annihilated. This is far beyond inflammatory rhetoric. Some of their people carry it out. And many of the rest support it. That is a very big difference from a comment on Facebook. Their comments are televised and broadcast and their message carries authority just by virtue of being broadcast."

It looked like this point sunk in, and I felt I should kind of wind it down, so I said, "I am also afraid of inflammatory rhetoric on our side. But you can err on the other side — not speaking about it enough. This is a very serious topic that affects all of us and we should all be talking about it and learning about it. Sensibly. Rationally, for sure. But we should talk about it. And see if something can be humanely done about our predicament."

I never try to get anyone to admit they were wrong. That would be foolish. It's enough to make a good point and move on, waiting for the next opportunity, and preparing in the meanwhile, gaining knowledge and skills. I feel he will come around. But I'm taking it slow. I could tell he really didn't like this whole thing. I made a good point using his own words, his own concern, and he couldn't rationally deny that if he's worried about the inflammatory rhetoric of counterjihadists, it would be logically inconsistent to be unconcerned about the inflammatory rhetoric of those who want to destroy us.

He said, "I just don't want..." and he hesitated, trying to find the right words.

But before he could finish his sentence, I finished it for him: "You don't want it to be true."

To which he immediately replied, nodding his head, "Yes, I really don't want it to be true."

"I know, man," I said sympathetically. "I don't either." And we left it at that. I'm going to give him a little time to let it all settle in his mind before I pull him further into this subject. It's a big, bitter pill to swallow, and when you really understand it, your life will never be the same. I think on some level, people recognize this, and that's one of the reasons they resist. They will throw every argument at you they can because, at the bottom of it all, they just don't want it to be true, and I can't blame them.

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

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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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