Isn't it Okay to Dislike an Ideology?


Someone said to us: "I really believe that we can live together and have different beliefs and religions. We don't have to believe what the Koran says. I sure don't believe what the Bible says and think it is the cause of many of our problems in the US because many of those who believe in it think that everyone else should believe in it. We can cross paths with people and share many interests and not have to believe everything that person believes... We thought the same about the Jewish population and the Irish, Chinese, Japanese... I like people of all types, religions and colors. Until a person hurts me, my family, or anyone, I will trust and believe in all humans.We tried to keep those others contained and marginalized. We just never learn."

When you are telling people about Islam, you will sometimes get a response like the one above. And sometimes people don't say it, but they're thinking it. That's when it's time to make the following very important point. Here's how I answered the above message:

Yes, I get that. And I like people too. But there are some ideologies (the written ideas) that make humans do bad things. When Islamic ideas such as these are believed by Muslims, it becomes dangerous to our fellow human beings. That's just a fact. Isn't there an ideology you dislike? The KKK's? The one spelled out in Mein Kampf? It's okay to dislike an ideology, isn't it?

I often try to find an ideology my listener doesn't like, and then make that point. Usually this allows our conversation to continue, because most people agree that it's perfectly okay to dislike, discuss, and criticize an ideology. Of course. When you put it that way, people seem to understand what you're doing, and accept it.

For more ideas about how to talk to people about Islam, check this out: Tools to Help You Educate Your Fellow Non-Muslims About Islam.




I've been practicing for a long time, trying to hone my ability to educate people one-on-one about Islam, and I'm pretty good at it. I rarely get into a "debate" or argument, and in fact, it's usually an enjoyable conversation. I've written down several of my conversations after they happened which you can read here, here, and here.

I've written a lot about how to talk to people about Islam, but I decided to try to think of all the things I take for granted about my approach that I haven't written about, and I ended up making the list below. These are personal rules or states of mind or ways of thinking about these conversations that I think really help them go well:

1. I try to only talk to someone about Islam when nobody else is around. I don't want to get into a public debate. When people talk in front of an audience, they are more likely to try to "win" or look good, and less likely to listen and learn. Being in a public situation tends to encourage people to take sides.

Perhaps more importantly, when someone makes a pronouncement to several people, they find it more difficult to change their mind later than when they make the same pronouncement to only one person.

All in all, you will be more likely to really inform someone one-on-one with no audience.

2. I try not to approach it as a debate at all. I am careful about the way I open a conversation. And careful about the way I speak, so it becomes clear that I know what I'm talking about, and that I know a lot more about the subject than the person I'm talking to, but not in a condescending way. I do not try to "dominate" the conversation except that I try to establish my authority by saying something simple like, "Have you read the Quran? No? Well, when I read it the first time, I was really surprised to find..."

3. I try to keep it interesting for the listener. I want them to find out something they are surprised at and interested in.

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5. I try to keep it casual. "Hey, did you hear about what happened in France? They banned the burka. Yeah, and it was almost unanimous..." I try to prevent giving the impression I am on a campaign to stop the Islamization of the world. I'm just talking about interesting things I've learned lately. I just try to maintain a feel of easygoing conversation, and sometimes it becomes very engaging.

6. I deliberately stay relaxed, and try to "curb my enthusiasm." And I keep my sense of humor. This topic is intense enough without adding to it by being intense myself. I take deep breaths, I pause when I'm talking and ask them questions, and I don't give them the most shocking things until they are already fairly well-versed in the less shocking things.

7. I do not let it appear as if I want them to change their minds or that there is any kind of conflict between us. I find common ground. I try to speak about things I know they will care about, like the human rights angle or women's rights, or whatever.

8. I think in terms of small bits and long campaigns. Okay, I've written about this one before (here) but it's a good one and I didn't want to leave it off this list. It's important. I don't try to get the whole educational process done all in one conversation. I let it happen in small pieces over many months to give them a chance to absorb it and think about it, and hopefully ask me questions about it later. I plant seeds and expect the dawning realizations to happen over time rather than expecting enlightenment overnight.

I assume there will be many already-existing beliefs they hold that will need to change for them to understand more. Sometimes changing beliefs produces an internal struggle, and forcing more information into a struggling mind can make someone not want to talk to you any more. Plant the seeds and be patient.

9. I sympathize with their resistance and disbelief. I was there once, too, and I know, it's a shocker when it starts to really sink in. I remind myself of how I felt when I first started learning about Islam. It helps me empathize with my listener, and I think that helps the communication process.

10. I try to make it clear to my listener that we are on the same side of this issue. I know a lot more about it, but we are both non-Muslims. We're on the same team. I convey the feeling that we don't have all the answers and we're exploring this topic together. If the person brings up a good point or a counter argument, I will either say "that's interesting" and think about it and then come back later with more information, or I will say something like this: "I used to think the same way. But when I found out..." And lead them further into the topic with more information.

11. I reframe their objections like a salesman. Sales training manuals will often tell you to be glad when someone raises objections, because it means the person is interested. People who are not interested just make excuses and disappear. Someone who is arguing with you is often presenting arguments they think other people might bring up to see if you have a good answer for them — an answer that would satisfy other people. They do this because they are interested in believing you, but want to be sure.

So I don't feel put off by questions or arguments or "objections." I see it as a sign of interest and curiosity, and I try to answer the objection in a way that gives more information (rather than in a way that makes the other person feel wrong or stupid or anything negative). This perspective on objections helps prevent me from interacting in a confrontational way. It helps me avoid turning the conversation into some sort of contest or disagreement.

I also often refer to my own list of answers to objections for help.

12. When I have a difficult conversation and it really bothers me because I didn't have a good response, as soon as I can, I find a quiet place and write out what the other person said. I do it on my computer. Then I separate out each statement the person made and write out the answer I wish I had made at the time. I print it out and read it.

If my "failure" continues to bother me, over the next few days I may occasionally read it over and add to my answers and print up the new version. I look up facts if I am unsure about something. I write it all out until I feel I've made a really good answer.

If you do this, you will be better prepared for the next conversation. I welcome these difficult conversations, because I know I will use them like this. You should welcome the times when you're stumped and you don't know what to say. It can deepen your understanding and make you grow.

13. I try to never use the words "Islam" or "Muslim" by themselves. I always say "heterodox" or "orthodox" before every one. Most people know at least one Muslim person and cannot, out of the goodness of their heart — out of personal loyalty or just plain human empathy — think of that person as having bad intentions, and they know that not all Muslims are devout. So if you give blanket statements about Islam or Muslims, they reject your statements for perfectly sound reasons. Always use the descriptors.

I'm always learning and I hope you are too. If you would be so kind as to share your own insights about how to approach these conversations, we could all benefit from your hard-earned skill. I invite you to add your insights on our new comments page: Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims, which, by the way, is already turning into a valuable resource, thanks to your welcome participation.


"Criticizing Islamic Doctrine Will Turn Moderates into Extremists"


This is another in our series, Answers to Objections. In an article entitled, Taking the Fight to Islam, Andrew Anthony writes:

Does [Ayaan Hirsi Ali's] bald delivery not further alienate Muslims, forcing them to cling to traditional values? Hirsi Ali is too smooth of skin and composure to bristle, but it is obviously an accusation she finds irritating.

"Tariq Ramadan is filled with contempt for Muslims because he believes they have no faculties of reason," she replies in a beguilingly friendly tone, as though she had remarked that he had an excellent taste in shirts. "If I say that terrorism is created in the name of Islam suddenly they take up terrorism? He gives me so much more power than I have. Why don't my remarks make him turn to terrorism?"

This is a fairly common argument — that by educating non-Muslims about Islam, we are risking the possibility that otherwise peaceful Muslims will take up arms and join the third jihad. But the argument doesn't have much heft if you give it even ten minutes of thought. I heard Robert Spencer put it this way, in essence: Do you really think devout Muslims or even heterodox Muslims will be swayed by the teachings of a non-Muslim? That's ridiculous.

Spencer was commenting on the limitations imposed on U.S. security agencies to avoid using such terms as "Islamic terrorists" because it might make "moderate Muslims" want to blow things up. He asked how anyone could think that a believing Muslim would use the U.S. government as a reliable source on the teachings of Islam? Good question.

A Muslim, of course, will be influenced much more strongly by their own personal (usually life-long) understanding of Islam, their own reading, their own imam, the teachings of their own sect and their own parents, etc. To believe that a non-Muslim pointing out the supremacist teachings of Islam would cause a Muslim to give up his own understanding of his faith and become a jihadist seems, to put it mildly, highly unlikely.

Let's look at this another way. By definition, a "moderate Muslim" must reject some basic Islamic principles. Of course, for someone who knows little about Islam, this will not be obvious. But once they learn about Islam, this much will be clear.

Does it make any sense that a "moderate Muslim" who rejects some of Islam's teachings would become a fundamentalist because I am educating non-Muslims about those rejected teachings? Will my educational efforts make our moderate Muslim embrace what he has rejected and become an "extremist?"

I got this comment on one of my articles (Message to Peaceful Muslims):

Moderation is the enemy of any extremist. They thrive in a black-and-white world. This post agrees with the vision of extremistic Muslims: either you're a Muslim or you're a non-Muslim. This post states that a good Muslim is not relevant, because it does not fit in this black-and-white world.

Not a good Muslim, but Citizen Warrior is helping extremist Islam to grow.

Saying that not the extremists but Islam itself is the problem, you are creating a Western version of jihad. "So you Muslims want jihad? Fine, we can do that as well! I will declare myself a warrior."

Good luck with it.


This was my response:


To think that what a non-Muslim says about Islam will change a believing Muslim's worldview is absurd.

Imagine Amhed, a peace-loving "Muslim in name only" (MINO) who thinks Islam means peace. He's a nice guy. He's never read the Quran, but his parents were Muslims, so he considers himself a Muslim.

And then he reads some non-Muslim blogger saying "true" Muslims are intolerant toward non-Muslims. Will Ahmed become intolerant toward non-Muslims now?

Don't hold your breath. I know enough MINOs to know they are not influenced by anything I say. They think I just don't understand. And devout Muslims would be even less influenced by a non-Muslim blogger.

If you are a Christian, would you be influenced by a Muslim telling you what Christians believe? Or telling you what it says in the Bible? Or how to be a good Christian?

Mike, what your criticism says is that what I write will influence Muslims who are against violence to become violent.

Not only do I have almost no impact on Muslim beliefs because I am a non-Muslim, but my audience is almost entirely non-Muslims. My job here is to alert the hundreds of millions of non-Muslims living in free countries to the basic and often surprising teachings of mainstream Islam. These teachings are being actively hidden by Muslims who have actually read the Quran because the political plan works best when non-Muslims don't have a clue.

So what you're asking me to do is to be silent on the slim chance that something I say will influence a Muslim to become intolerant, while at the same time leaving all the non-Muslims I might have reached in the dark.

Hmmm. Let me see...

Nah. I don't think so.

Upon discovering the intolerance and violence their doctrine really teaches, most good-hearted, peace-loving Muslims would be more likely to leave their faith than to become more devout. And even if some did become more devout because of something I said, the free world would still be better off if Islam's prime directive was widely known.

Right now, because of widespread ignorance of Islam, the initiatives of politically active Muslim organizations are proceeding almost completely unhindered. Orthodox Muslims, following the plan set forth by the Muslim Brotherhood (the largest international Muslim organization in the world), have successfully infiltrated and influenced Hollywood, newspapers, television news, textbooks, 阿里云搭酸酸乳教程, presidents and even comedians. How can they get away with this? Because so few non-Muslims know anything about Islam. And what many non-Muslims know about Islam is completely false because all these avenues of public education have already been compromised.

I propose to you that this argument was originally created by politically active Muslims in order to silence non-Muslims who are trying to educate other non-Muslims about Islam. This argument was then disseminated widely and taken up by devout multiculturalists because it served their own agenda, and it has now become widespread.

But however it happened, the argument is pathetic. Knowing what it really says in Islamic doctrines clearly has better long-term prospects than pretending it doesn't say those things and silencing anyone who tries to educate non-Muslims about it.

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 and Foundation for Coexistence.


What is Our Goal in the Counterjihad Movement?


Clearly something is wrong. Orthodox Islam is spreading, and great numbers of non-Muslims around the world are ignorant, confused, or blinded by an indiscriminate multiculturalism, which is allowing orthodox Islam to spread relatively unimpeded.

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We've been at this a long time. We started Citizen Warrior about a month after 9/11. Our comments on this site are "moderated," which means we read every comment before publishing it, and we've been doing so since the beginning. We also have a Facebook page, and we read every comment there, too. So we've heard many emotionally aroused counterjihadists saying things like "we should nuke the Middle East" or "send them all back where they came from" or "ban Islam." Understandably upset, people want to do something about Islam's growing threat. But of course, nuking the Middle East is irrational, morally unacceptable, and wouldn't solve the problem anyway. You can't nuke an ideology. Many of the Muslims now living in the Middle East would defect from Islam if they had a chance. Millions are children. Nuking the Middle East is a ridiculous proposition arising out of intense feelings of helplessness. We can't "send them back" either because many of them were born in our countries. These kinds of solutions are impotent; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but frustration.

What kind of language should we use to describe the counterjihadist's goal? On Citizen Warrior here we have characterized it a number of ways over the years: Defeating the third jihad, 云服务器选购 - 腾讯云 - Tencent Cloud:云服务器为您提供安全可靠的弹性计算服务。 只需几分钟,您就可众在云端获取和启用 CVM,来实现您的计算需求。随着业务需求的变化,您可众实时扩展或缩减计算资源。 CVM 支持按实际使用的资源计费,可众为您节约计算成本。使用 CVM 可众极大降低您的软硬件采购成本,简化 IT 运维工作, stopping orthodox Islam's relentless encroachment, reversing jihad, etc. None of these are really adequate either.

After thinking about it for awhile, we've come up with the language we'd like to use, and we want to know what you think of it. Either email us or leave it as a comment below. This is our goal:

To marginalize, discredit, and disempower
orthodox Islam.

We can't really get rid of Islam. But we can make it so weak and maligned, so cut off from resources and shunned that it no longer poses a serious threat to the free world.

The Ku Klux Klan was once a growing movement in the U.S. They had millions of members, some of whom were in high places. They had a massive demonstration in Washington DC in 1925. Fifty thousand Klansmen were in the parade, dressed in their white robes. Just as an aside, did you know the Klan had a Kloran? I kid you not. Here's a PDF version of it.

What happened to the KKK? Why didn't they grow into a national party or take over the country? They were marginalized, discredited, and disempowered, and remain so to this day. They are still around. It's an ideology. You can't really get rid of an ideology. But you can make it something that few people want to be associated with.

How can we do that with orthodox Islam? There are many ways:

1. The first and most important is getting more people to understand that Islam is unlike other religions in important ways and that the "extremists" are not doing anything but following the written creeds of their religion. They're not "picking and choosing" passages from their texts to justify what they're doing. They're not "taking things out of context" or "misunderstanding" the Koran. It is the Koran itself and the example of Muhammad that is incompatible with modern society. We need to effectively reach people. Once enough people understand the situation accurately, the rest of this list will be relatively easy.

2. Cut off oil money to OPEC, which is the main power behind Islam's current expansion in the world.

3. Stop the oppression of women in Muslim lands (and everywhere else, including Muslim enclaves in free nations). The more power and freedom and rights women have in Muslim countries, the less orthodox those Muslims will become. 
4. Prevent Sharia law from worming its way into our legal system — passing legislation that explicitly forbids it.

5. Stop Muslim immigration into free societies, or at least limit it for Muslims, limit it from Muslim countries, test Muslim immigrants for their level of orthodoxy, or something along these lines.

6. Prevent the construction of mosques inside our borders.

You've learned about the terrifying brilliance of Islam and you want to do something about it. Excellent. Here's what to aim for: To marginalize, discredit, and disempower orthodox Islam everywhere in the world. Each one of the actions on the list has a link. Follow the link to find out how you can begin to make this goal a reality.


Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism


The movie, Pleasantville is the story of the rise and fall of an Islamic state. I know that sounds crazy, but bear with me for a moment. I've been immersed in studying about Islam, terrorism, and Islamic states like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan (when the Taliban were running things). I didn't realize before that it is a Muslim's duty to create an Islamic state, wherever they live. And to kill and die for this purpose if that's what it takes. I recently watched Pleasantville. I had seen the movie before, but this time I saw it in a new light.

If the movie can be seen as a metaphor, let's look at the parallels. First, someone had a vision of a perfect world. In the movie, it was the creator of the Pleasantville TV show, and in Islam, it was Muhammad (or Allah speaking through Muhammad). They each had a vision of an ideal world. (Learn more about that here.)

Now, if everybody does what they're supposed to do, this vision can become a reality and people can enjoy a peaceful, orderly society. The key is getting everyone to do what they're supposed to do. The problem is, people love freedom. And of course freedom brings with it unwanted side-effects, as you see in the movie (and as you can see by looking around you).

But the lack of freedom also has side-effects. Which is better, living in a Pleasantville world but having to do what you're supposed to do all the time — or living a life where you choose your own destiny but also have to live in a society with others who are choosing their destiny too? I don't know who can answer that question for all of us, but I know which one I prefer. Give me liberty or give me death.

The movie is about the danger and the splendor of freedom.

When the movie begins, the teenager, David, is in a modern American high school, living in a free society complete with its dangers and side-effects. David is a fan of an old television show from the fifties. Everything was perfect in the show. It was an ideal world where people treated each other courteously, parents had loving, conflict-free marriages, and kids were wholesome and innocent. David yearns for a life like that instead of the messy, chaotic world he lives in. And he gets his wish. He is magically transported into the Pleasantville television show. It's in black and white. Every day is a perfectly sunny 72 degrees. It never rains.

But he discovers that there is a cost to living in paradise — a drastic lack of freedom. In the movie, when the teenagers started having sex and the world was beginning to go Technicolor, the leaders of the town were horrified. Things were getting out of control. And you can see they had good intentions when they tried to make it go back the way it was.

That's what the Taliban did in Afghanistan back in the 90's (you can see an accurate depiction of their perfect world in the movie, Osama). And that's what Iran tried to do with their revolution. And what Saudi Arabia is doing. They're trying to force it back in the box. They're trying to fulfill the vision written in the Qur'an of the perfect world. They are struggling against human beings' natural desire for freedom. They have to use force to get people to do what they're supposed to do all the time. They use extreme force and they still can't get everyone to conform.

And who hasn't had the same conflict in their own life? Haven't you? Haven't you gone through cycles of cracking down on yourself and then loosening up? Haven't you ever gotten a regime all worked out so you can get in shape or whatever and then after awhile you start feeling closed in by it and you want to break out of the restricting and regimented monotony?

When I was younger, I spent many fruitless hours trying to come up with the perfect system. A perfect week would have a certain amount of exercise, a certain amount of communication with loved ones, writing time, goofing off time, etc. A perfect life plan is not very difficult to come up with. But actually doing it turns into a nightmare of routine. Most people would never do something like that voluntarily for very long. I loved creating the perfect system, but I hated living in it. And it was my system. What if some else created the system? It would be nearly impossible to make me conform to it.

Our longing for freedom and change and adventure always makes us want to break out. The Qur'an has an idea: Enforce the system from the outside. People can't do it on their own. But if you could make everyone in a society follow the perfect system, you could have a perfect society.

In the movie Pleasantville, the men join together and try to restore order, under the banner of the Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce. They try to enforce pleasant behavior. They create a code of conduct for everyone to live by and they punish the ones who rebel. And what you see is what happens in real life. People feel a conflict. Yes, they want a pleasant society, but not at the cost of their personal freedoms. Many wonderful and terrible things didn't exist in the perfect world of Pleasantville: Art, sex, women's rights, creativity, exciting music, novelty, love, passion, anger, awakening, self-discovery, self-expression, disagreement, conflict, change, violence, book-burning, discovery, exploration, experimentation, new experience, rebellion, defiance, personal growth, and the list goes on and on. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

What does it take to keep the ugly and bad stuff away? You have to get rid of a lot of the good stuff. That's what it takes. And you have to make it a crime to step out of line. You have to have punishments. So the perfect world has its own ugly side. Do you know about the punishments in Islamic law? If you steal something, they cut off your hand. If you have premarital sex or drink alcohol, you get flogged. For adultery, both the man and the woman are stoned to death.

The punishments are intentionally extreme so they are a strong deterrent. They don't cut very many hands off because that law really discourages theft, and after getting caught twice, you don't have any hands left to steal anything with. I'm not advocating this by any means. You already know how I feel. I believe in freedom. But that doesn't mean people who try to come up with the perfect systems are necessarily evil.

I think the movie could help freedom-lovers sympathize with the perfect-world-lovers because after all, we in the audience are also attracted to the perfect world of Pleasantville at first. We sympathize with David, who wants to get away from his ugly, sometimes painful life, and doesn't realize or appreciate how much freedom he enjoys until it is taken away from him.

And the movie could also help the perfect-world-lovers see the beauty and magnificence of freedom — and the joy of not knowing what's going to happen next. And the satisfaction of choosing your own destiny.

In the book, Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, Robert Pirsig wrote about the difference between static quality (the perfect world) and dynamic quality (a free society), and how these two forces are always and necessarily in conflict, and in a way the tension between the two is a good thing in the long run, or at least could be a good thing.

In one of the scenes in the movie, David and his girlfriend are out by the lake. She has just found out that David has seen the world outside of Pleasantville. She never has, and until recently, didn't even know it existed. She asks him, "So what's it like out there?"

He says, "'s louder. And scarier, I guess. And it's a lot more dangerous."

"It sounds fantastic!" she says enthusiastically. Sure. For someone whose life has been ordered and perfect, a little dynamic quality would be like cool water to someone dying of thirst. That's the glory and the downside of human nature living in a free society.

With freedom, you have to learn to live with the fact that things aren't the same any more and never will be. That's both tragic and wonderful.

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One of the most unusual articles on 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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