October 26, 2014

The Story of Mohammed

More people need to understand that the Muslims doing bad things in the name of Islam are not distorting Islamic texts, but are following them faithfully. Our fellow non-Muslims need to understand that the problem is not that some crazy people use Islamic texts to justify whatever they want to do. The problem is the ideology itself. Specifically, the problem is the Islamic texts themselves. The teachings are dangerous to non-Muslims.

One of the best ways to help people understand this is to talk about Mohammed. Since it says in the Koran 91 times that Muslims should follow Mohammed's example, understanding Mohammed is a quick and easy way to understand Islam. I'd like to introduce you to a great resource to help you help others learn about Mohammed. It's a book entitled, The Story of Mohammed by Harry Richardson. You can read the book online here for free. You can download a PDF of the book here. And you can buy the book for six dollars here so you can share it with your friends and family.

Why would a non-Muslim want to read the story of Mohammed? On Harry Richardson's blog, he gives this answer:

Mohammed’s story is the most incredible story never told. It is said that truth is stranger than fiction and honestly, NO ONE could have made this up. There are battles, murders, intrigues, rapes, assassinations, torture, intimidation, and much much more. Along the way Mohammed invented Jihad, the most effective system of conquest ever devised.

Mohammed’s life story is also the key which unlocks the complexities and confusion of the Islamic religion itself. By understanding his story we quickly gain a clear insight into Islam and the incredible importance this subject holds for our future.

This amazing book pulls no punches and brings the subject to life in a way which is both fascinating and informative. Rather than looking at Islam through a prism of Western (and by default, Christian) perspective, it examines the Islamic perspective itself.

In doing so it illuminates the contrast between Western and Islamic ethics and beliefs in plain and simple language which makes it a delight to read.

There are no apologies, no excuses and no pretending. This is not Islam as we want it to be, this is Islam as it really is.

You need to read this book now because in today’s world, this information is vital.

August 9, 2014

What Does It Mean When a Woman Wears a Muslim Headscarf?

The following was written by the liberal Canadian philosophy professor, Elsa Schieder, PhD, reprinted with her permission:

I've been experiencing a big personal change, to do with seeing a woman wearing the Muslim headscarf. I used to have no response. Now every time I see this, I ask myself: "Just what does she believe?"

Like most Western people, I've learned to be very accepting — and even appreciative — of different styles of dress, food, music. So I used to have no response to the Muslim headdress, the hijab. It was just — you do your thing, I do mine. My response was to the color, the style — in other words, I responded as if this were a fashion item.

That has been changing. In fact, this change has lagged far behind my learning about Islam. Perhaps shockingly, it's taken me years to respond more fully to the Muslim headscarf.

There's more than one reason for this. First, I used to see few headscarves in my home city. Then, there used to be less Muslim persecution of Christians worldwide. There was also no group declaring an Islamic caliphate, rampaging from one Middle Eastern area to the next.

Most of all, my sense is that it's taken a long time for it to sink in that I'm seeing women walking around advertising that they're part of a religion that seeks world domination, that seeks the destruction of my culture and way of life, that views all non-Muslims as filthy Kafirs — to be deceived, beheaded, crucified, plotted against, terrorized, humiliated, according to the Quran, which they believe is true — or what are they doing, wearing the Muslim headscarf?

Do most non-Muslims in the West respond with hostility, aversion, fear to women advertising their adherence to such an ideology? A Canadian journalist put on the Muslim headdress for a few days in order to record the prejudice Muslim women experience — and found that she was treated more positively than without it! (She saw this as a sign of racism — that people were not entirely neutral to the headdress, and instead cared to show they were tolerant and accepting! Oh well, what can you expect from the politically correct.)

I'm asking: Does it make any sense to be extra nice to someone belonging to a religion that has, as a goal, the destruction of my society? That views people like me as inferiors who are to be made to pay a special tax? That believes no one is to talk of any non-Muslim religion to Muslims? That approves of the murder and rape of non-Muslims, the enslavement of non-Muslims, the murder of gays, the inferiority of women?

No one has asked me to respond to people wearing the Nazi swastika as if this were meaningless, to people chanting Sieg Heil as if this were a quaint cultural artifact.

So what the blinkety-blank is going on here? It's vital to respond to what is happening. If we don't respond to, say, a lion prowling our way, we're much more likely to end up as lion supper.

That has made me sit down and create a handout. You'll find it at the bottom of the page. You're very welcome to download, print and distribute. You can also send it.

It starts:

A woman is wearing
a Muslim headscarf.
What does it mean?

For me, connecting the headscarf to what it stands for has changed everything. In fact, it melted something frozen inside me. It's only natural to connect something to what it stands for. A flag. It stands for something. If we respond positively or negatively, this is because of what we see the flag stands for.

Likewise with the Muslim headdress, the hijab.

The next thing. It's vital to get the word out.

The natural response of non-Muslims to the Muslim headscarf is recoil. It stands for something more dangerous than AIDS, than Ebola.

Most of us have had our senses numbed.

All the best to a world awakening to the reality of Islam and to taking appropriate action.

Again, if this suits you, you're welcome to download the handout below. It's a one-page two-sided handout.

All the best,

Elsa

See, download, or print the PDF handout here: A woman is wearing a headscarf. What does it mean?

August 6, 2014

Thought Contagion and Islam

I searched Google to find out if anyone had written about Islam as a meme (if you don't know what a meme is, click here). I found several articles, but none were what I was looking for. Then I came across an excerpt from the book, Thought Contagion. It was exactly what I was looking for. But here's the funny thing: I already owned the book and had even read it!

But when I read it, the World Trade Center was still standing and the information was only mildly interesting to me at the time. Things have changed. I read it again, and it felt like I was reading it for the first time.

The author, Aaron Lynch, looked at several institutions in his book — families, politics, and religion — and in the religion section, he looked at most of the major religions, including Islam. What can memetics (study of memes) tell us about Islam and the trouble in the Middle East?

Memetically, Islam is a very successful memeplex (group of memes). Several embedded memes help make it so. For example, if Muslims drift away from Mohammed's teachings, Allah will end the world. That makes converting others and promoting Islam a matter of survival. It also motivates Muslims, as Lynch points out, "to dissuade each other from losing faith."

It is also a requirement of Islamic faith to make a public prayer five times a day. The unusual posture attracts attention, and the prayers can be heard by nearby people. Under some circumstances, this might help Islam spread. And the fact that the Muslim is repeating his prayers five times a day makes it very easy for him to stay focused on Islam. It would be almost impossible for him to forget it.

Islam is different from other religions in at least one important way: It began at a time and in a place where no empire constrained its spread. In other words, if you start a religion within the Roman Empire, you're going to have certain limitations. The Romans would see any new religion — especially a militant or political religion — as a threat to its power and would make sure it stayed peaceful. A religion that preached tolerance and goodwill toward others might survive, but a violent or militant or political new religion would be quashed immediately.

But Islam had no such restriction when it began, so it could incorporate "conversion by warfare" into its memeplex, and it did. As Lynch wrote, "The faith provides for a jihad or holy war, which historically led to Islamic rule over whole societies." Once a country was conquered by war, pagans were often given a simple choice: convert to Islam or die. That is written into Islamic law. If any members of the newly acquired country were Christian or Jewish, they were required to pay a special tax and became a second-class citizen, unless they wanted to convert.

This information answered a question I had for a long time. Why are there "Muslim" countries? Do you see Buddhist countries? Hindu countries? Christian countries? I know there are countries where these religions are in the majority, but has the religion taken over the government? No. But the way Islam was created, taking over the government is what the faithful will do. Not the extremist. Not the crazy ones. The faithful Muslims, if they follow the teachings of Muhammad, will take over the government, establish the religion as the national religion, and rule using the law of Allah.

MEMES FOR WAR

According to the Koran, if you die while fighting for Islam, you are guaranteed eternal paradise. This meme not only encourages bravery in battle, but it encourages continual warfare against non-Muslim nations. You cannot die fighting for Islam if there is no fighting going on. This answered another question I had for a long time: Why can't the people in the Middle East just work out their differences and get on with their lives? That question assumes that warfare is not desirable. I was assuming war is a temporary break in an otherwise peaceful, productive life. But that is an assumption that was not shared by the writer of the Koran.

So continual warfare is part of the teachings of Islam. And another meme has been added to reduce the costs of war. When men die, the ratio of women to men changes, of course, leaving widows childless or unable to take care of the children they already have. But the Koran says each man can marry up to four wives. This makes the men more at ease with going to war, and makes sure warfare doesn't reduce the numbers of the next generation of the faithful.

This is all very interesting in a detached, academic sort of way, but as you can easily surmise, this has profound implications. How then, should the rest of the world interact with Muslim countries? The religion has slowly spread and taken over countries. Should they be stopped? How can you stop such a thing?

In the heyday of Islam, Muslims were invading India, China, Europe, and Africa all at the same time, spreading rapidly, taking over countries, building an Islamic empire. They were fought back and contained, and had been contained for a long time. But they are inventing new methods to fight.

What can we do? The first thing is to know what we're dealing with, and political leaders repeating "Islam is a religion of peace" doesn't really help clarify the situation.

I have heard from several people saying they are Muslims and they have no desire to fight anyone. Obviously, it is possible to be moderate about anything. But Islam requires a lot from its followers and appears to inspire more commitment more often and with more militancy and governmental aspirations than any other religion.

If you'd like to know more about the memes in Islam, the best way is to read the Koran (you can do it online) and find out for yourself what it really says. This is the manual orthodox Muslims are using. Since you and I are their target, it seems like a good idea to know what they are basing their actions on and why. I think you'll find it surprising.

Read more: The Terrifying Brilliance Of The Islamic Memeplex

July 23, 2014

A New Series of Counterjihad Interviews With Elsa Schieder

Back in 2012 and 2013, Elsa Schieder released a series of interviews with some of the most important figures of the counterjihad movement, including Bill Warner, Robert Spencer, Nicolai Sennels, Andy Miller, and Mark Durie. The interviews were personal, revealing and inspiring.

Elsa is releasing a new series of interviews this month. To get access to these interviews, register here (it's free): Personal Journeys Toward Difficult Truths. You'll see a small registration form in the right sidebar.

The first set of interviews in the new series will become available July 28th. Elsa will post four interviews, one per day, from Monday to Thursday, at 8 pm EST. Each interview will be available for free for 48 hours. She will send a link to each interview to everyone who registers when it is released.

There will be another set of interviews in August, and the series could keep going. "The core focus of the interviews," says Elsa, "is activism." Here's what she says about the idea behind these interviews:

We start with ethics, with caring, with a sense of right and wrong.

But what do we do? A few people instantly become activists the moment they feel something is wrong. Far more of us are confused, uncertain, hesitant. We don't know what to do, what might work. We aren't sure what is real. Or we try things, but see that we're not getting our message through to people. Or we wish we knew how to do more.

Each month, I'll interview one "big name" person — someone widely known.

The other people are what I term "local heroes" — people who have found ways of reaching others in a smaller way.

This month the big name is Robert Spencer of JihadWatch, which has a worldwide reach. On top of that, he's published 13 books, including two New York Times bestsellers. His most recent book is Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In.

Then there's Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, of the Hausman Memorial Speakers Series. He's put his job on the line, by hosting, at the synagogue where he's the rabbi, a speaker series that includes Robert Spencer, Allen West … and even Geert Wilders of Fitna fame.

There's also Narain Kataria, who as a teenager experienced the partition of India. Over 1,000,000 Hindu and Sikh deaths. Now he aims to educate about the menace of terrorism all over the world — through the Indian American Intellectuals Forum, the Human Rights Coalition against Radical Islam, and more. Most of his activism has taken place after retirement — quite a common occurrence.

And who will be fourth?

It could be Chris Logan, of North American Infidels. He's a 12-year veteran of this war most people in the West refuse to recognize is happening. It could be Alexandra Belaire (Canada) or Daniel Scot (Australia) or Meir Weinstein (Canada) or Andrew Harrod (United States). It might even be Tamar Yonah, program director and talk show host at Israel National Radio. She's living "in the eye of the storm," Israel. Or it may well be Meir Weinstein (Canada), who has been organizing people to confront, for example, in pro-Hamas anti-Israel rallies.

In August, the "big name" person will be the remarkable Bill Warner, who has a PhD in Physics, but has dedicated himself to counter-jihad since 9/11.

Register here to get the link to the interviews.

March 6, 2014

Chime For Change, Fight For Freedom

In a previous article (here), we mentioned that Chime For Change is helping to marginalize, discredit, and disempower orthodox Islam without attacking Islam directly. It's an organization dedicated to empowering women globally. The official byline is: "Chime for Change promotes education, health and justice for girls and women everywhere." So, of course, what they end up exposing and working to change most of the time is the application or promotion of Sharia law around the world. They never say it like that, and that's probably a good thing because it can penetrate our overly-sensitive society without any resistance or stigma.

A good target to aim at when talking with your friends and family is to get them to sign up for Chime for Change's free updates here. It always helps to have a specific target in your conversations — something you're persuading toward. It makes you more persuasive. And a small expression of commitment (like signing up for free updates) makes people more committed to the cause (read more about that here). Taking the small action of subscribing will influence your friend's feelings toward our cause because of the principle of commitment and consistency.

Recent updates at Chime for Change included the following articles:
Getting Away With Sexual Abuse in Jordan
I Am Nirbhaya (about a movement in India to stop rapes)
Kashmiri Women Claim Their Rights
Acid Attack Survivor Wins Millions on Quiz Show
Rising Up Against FGM in Kenya

The organization and the stories are not anti-Muslim. They are pro-women's rights. But, of course, without ever focusing on it, the things they focus on inevitably run up against the biggest barrier to the positive goals: Sharia law. Even though the stories are not focused exclusively on Sharia or Islam, but are focused on women's rights around the world, what the organization is mostly fighting against is orthodox Islam.

We urge you to get involved with this organization. Share their articles with your friends and family. Encourage them, at the very least, to sign up for the updates. Help nudge your friends and family to make this small commitment to the principle of women's rights. It could very well grow into an explicit commitment to stop the spread of Sharia. But even if it doesn't, any actions taken to give women rights will weaken Sharia's ability to spread.

Chime for Change has a lot of celebrity involvement, including Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, and Salma Hayek, which always helps appeal to a certain segment of the population, giving it a very mainstream (rather than fringe) appeal. Let's use this organization to get more of our fellow citizens involved in the cause of freedom.

February 26, 2014

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

February 20, 2014

Honor Diaries

Many of us find it difficult to talk to people about Islamic doctrine and Sharia law. Some people resist listening to us or accepting what we say. A new film, first screened last fall at the Chicago International Film Festival — Honor Diaries — can help us reach more people by showing the viewer what's being done in the Muslim world without creating resistance to the information.

The film doesn't focus on Islam. Instead, it exposes what the "honor" system does.

The film profiles and interviews nine women who have been victims of an honor culture. The film is deliberately not anti-Muslim. It won't cause your multicultural friends to turn away from the message. It will reach them where they can be reached: On the topic of the oppression and victimization of women. It's a brilliant approach, and could help recruit more people into pushing back the spread of Sharia. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the Executive Producer of the film.

We urge you to share the movie — have a screening, and when it's available on DVD, buy it and share it with your friends. Share the trailer on your Facebook page. Help this film become popular. Click here for a video about the film's Global Screening Campaign. They are officially launching the film in March of this year (2014). March 8th is International Women's Day and the Honor Diaries promoters are partnering with several organizations at events in New York, Los Angeles, London, etc.

The main website for the film is HonorDiaries.com. Watch a trailer, learn more about the film, and sign up for updates. The website describes the film this way: Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on "honor violence" against women and girls. Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from human rights abuses — around the world and here in America.

The film features nine courageous women's rights advocates with connections to Muslim-majority societies who are engaged in a dialogue about gender inequality.

These women, who have witnessed firsthand the hardships women endure, are profiled in their efforts to effect change, both in their communities and beyond.

The film gives a platform to exclusively female voices and seeks to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing this international human rights disaster. Freedom of movement, the right to education, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation are some of the systematic abuses explored in depth.

Spurred by the Arab Spring, women who were once silent are starting to speak out about gender inequality and are bringing visibility to a long history of oppression. This project draws together leading women’s rights activists and provides a platform where their voices can be heard and serves as inspiration to motivate others to speak out.

In the Oregon Independent, Catherine DeRego says this about Honor Diaries:

Executive Producer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia, is an outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies. She is also the founder of the AHA Foundation created to “help protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture.”

Here’s what she says about the film:

“In male-dominated cultures, like Saudi Arabia, women and girls are treated like property, forced into marriage, and suffer female genital mutilation. In Honor Diaries, I am proud to join a courageous cast of female human rights activists to speak the truth; that culture is no excuse for abuse.”

The filmmakers are asking everyone in the community to host a screening of Honor Diaries on March 8, 2014, or any time this spring to “Celebrate the stories of 9 amazing women’s rights activists,” and to bring awareness to these crimes against Muslim women. In the United States, all women are entitled to the same liberties and freedoms as men have irrespective of religion. There is no gender inequality under our Constitution, nor should there be in any other nation. Violence hidden behind the veil of one’s religious teachings is a crime against all humanity under God. Let the American people stand for freedom as we always have and join this movement to help end the violence against Muslim women in this country and across the world.

February 13, 2014

How I Helped a Young Man Understand a Central Fact About the Koran

Earlier tonight I worked late and gave one of my workmates a ride home. On the way, I was telling him about a book I am reading: The Pirate Coast. I said, "It's an interesting story and well-written. You know the Marines Hymn? From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli? The book is about how the United States Marines defeated Tripoli and why. Do you know the story?"

"No, I don't think so," he replied. "Where's Tripoli?"

"It's where Libya is now. Used to be called Tripoli. This is back in the early 1800s. It's North Africa, along the coast of the Mediterranean. The countries along the whole North African coast had been conquered by Muslim warriors centuries before, and they were all making pretty good money capturing ships traveling off their coast. There have always been lots of ships carrying goods to and fro in the Mediterranean. So these pirates would seize ships, take all the goods and the ships and then either ransom the crew or enslave them. When a country complained, they said, 'We will not attack ships from your country if you pay us this much money per year.' Eleven European countries took this deal. And the United States also paid the tribute money because they didn't have a navy to speak of, so they couldn't defend themselves militarily. We were a new country and didn't have much money, and paying the tribute was cheaper than raising a navy."

I'm a fast talker and he seemed to be enjoying the story, so I kept going. I should mention that he and I have never talked about Islam before. He was relatively new at work and he and I had excellent rapport.

The reason I'm telling you this story is that I realized afterward that I had given him some important basic information about Islam without him ever even knowing that's what I was doing. He is very laid back, and kind of reminds me of a younger version of The Dude from The Big Lebowski — kind of a live-and-let-live sort of fellow, and if I had come at him head-on with information about Islamic doctrine, I feel sure he would have resisted. But I didn't do that and he didn't resist, and I don't think he will ever look at Islam the same way again.

Anyway, I told him, "The story takes place when Thomas Jefferson was president. But before he became president, he was the American ambassador to France and he met the ambassador to Tripoli. He and John Adams sat down with Tripoli's ambassador and asked him, 'Why does your country attack our ships? We've never done anything to you.' The ambassador said, 'Our Koran commands us to make war on the infidels.'

"Jefferson found this hard to believe, so he bought a copy of the Koran and read it. As far as I know, he's the only president who ever did this. I read the Koran myself, and let me tell you, it is a shocker. Jefferson found out that the Tripoli ambassador was telling the truth. It is a Muslim's duty to make war on infidels until the whole world is Islamic. It is not optional, according to the Koran. It is an obligation of all Muslims."

My workmate looked surprised at this, but I didn't pause. I said, "So when Jefferson became president, he knew that Tripoli was not someone the U.S. would be able to negotiate with. There was no 'working things out' like he might do with a European country. So he started finding the funds to build up a navy powerful enough to defeat Tripoli.

"But the book is really about a guy named William Eaton, who was very bothered by the fact that the United States was paying tribute. It irked him to no end, and he came up with a plan to defeat Tripoli, and against all odds, and through the most unlikely alliances and through sheer determination, he and a small number of Marines managed to actually do it. It's a great book. History is always stranger than you'd expect."

Of all the different ways I have used to help my fellow non-Muslim citizens understand Islamic doctrine, this method has consistently worked the best: Simply talk about an interesting book I'm currently reading, and add in a few fundamental facts in the middle in such a way that they don't want to argue with me because they want to hear the rest of the story. So they are left with this disturbing piece of information about Islamic doctrine, delivered in a very convincing manner (in this case, the Koran's ugly secrets were confirmed by Thomas Jefferson and me), and all done within a context of good rapport and in a way that remains completely non-confrontational.

This won't work for every circumstance or every person, certainly, but when it happens, it is a beautiful thing.

January 25, 2014

Profits for "the Prophet's" Followers: Where Does It Come From?

Since Muhammad, orthodox Muslims have found methods to simultaneously weaken non-Muslims while strengthening Islam. Muhammad raided the caravans of his enemies, for example, which materially supported his army while impoverishing Islam's enemies.

With the establishment of the jizya — the tax Christians and Jews must pay in Muslim countries — the power of the Muslim state increases while simultaneously weakening competing ideologies.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are following Muhammad's example. The organizations and their operations are funded in two ways. One is by growing opium and selling it to the infidels, which of course, is a way to simultaneously strengthen their cause and weaken their enemies. The answer to this is to not buy their drugs, of course. And try to prevent it from being imported into our country. And to do whatever we can to stop funding the forces working against us.

The second way Al Qaeda and the Taliban are funded is with Saudi oil money, a source of money that also supports the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Students Association, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (the OIC, the largest voting bloc in the U.N. and the largest international organization outside the U.N.).

Saudi Arabia is the most influential member of the illegal price fixing cartel, OPEC, and Saudi Arabia insists on keeping the world price of oil high — simultaneously strengthening orthodox Islam and weakening non-Muslims globally. Iran is also an influential member of OPEC. Iranian oil money funds their nuclear program, and financially supports Hezbollah and Hamas.

In other words, OPEC keeps the world price of oil high, which simultaneously strengthens their cause and weakens their enemies. The answer to this is to not buy their oil, of course. And try to prevent it from being imported into our country. And to do whatever we can to stop funding the forces working against us.

But there's a catch. We produce oil ourselves. Many people believe the answer is to keep using oil but avoid importing any. But whether we import OPEC oil or drill it at home, the world's oil price remains the same because OPEC produces such a large percentage of the world's oil supply that they can dictate the price. And if we don't import it, other infidels will, and at OPEC's inflated price. So the third jihad retains its funding whether we abstain from importing oil or not. In fact, even if we import none of their oil, we still import their price because our own oil producers sell it to us at the world oil price, not some specially discounted price for their fellow citizens.

But if we could drill enough, couldn't we lower the world's oil price? Yes, if we could drill the equivalent of what all twelve OPEC nations produce, we might do it. But the oil produced in infidel nations is more expensive to produce, so if our domestic oil producers drilled enough oil to drop the global price, it would likely stop being profitable for most of them. Saudi Arabia has the advantage because theirs is the cheapest-to-produce oil in the world.

So they have us over a barrel. But only as long as oil retains its monopoly. As soon as the fuel market has competition, the monopoly will be broken, fuel prices will drop drastically, new businesses will boom in our country because the new competing fuels will be produced domestically, and the regimes running the OPEC nations will collapse because they won't be able to sustain their spending. Funds now promoting jihad around the world will dry up. And the economies of the free world will thrive.

This is entirely possible. And this year we could see the oil monopoly go the way of AT&T's long-distance monopoly. Two developments in the United States show a great deal of promise: The Fuel Freedom Foundation will be initiating several pilot projects in U.S. cities in 2014, and a bill has already been introduced into the U.S. Congress that would instantly create fuel competition in America. It's called the Open Fuel Standard Act and several powerful organizations have endorsed it, including ACT for America and the U.S. Energy Security Council.

The end of oil's monopoly is the most effective way to end the third jihad. Breaking oil's monopoly on transportation would simultaneously weaken the global jihad and strengthen non-Muslim nations around the world. Please throw your weight behind this movement and help your fellow non-Muslims see the wisdom and urgency in opening transportation fuel to a free market. The way to win this war is to concentrate our forces at the decisive point. Oil's monopoly is the decisive point.

January 12, 2014

The Search For The Moderate Muslim

This may be one of the most difficult issues to deal with for those of us who are working to defeat the third jihad: What about the moderate Muslims? Is there such a thing? What does "moderate" mean?

I think what most of us hope it means is "a Muslim that openly and definitely repudiates the violent, intolerant, supremacist passages in the Koran."

But the more I read about mainstream "moderate" Muslim organizations in America, the more I realize that what I hope "moderate" means and what those "moderate Muslims" mean by the term are entirely different. I am getting the feeling that the term "moderate Muslim" is not only pointless, but misleading — perhaps even deliberately misleading.

We should stop using the term. We should come up with a name for Muslims who straightforwardly reject the violent, intolerant passages in the Koran and openly reject the supremacist ideology strewn throughout Islamic teachings.

In my opinion, someone who does that is not really a Muslim, but maybe they still enjoy praying five times a day and fasting during Ramadan, so they might prefer to call themselves Muslims. Maybe they don't want to be rejected by their community and family. Who am I to tell someone what they call themselves?

On the other hand, we non-Muslims need a term that draws a distinction between the two types of Muslims. One type is dangerous to non-Muslims and one is not. A Muslim may not care about this distinction, but it's pretty important to us non-Muslims.

I heard Walid Phares use the term "democracy-seeking Muslims" and I thought that was pretty good, but it doesn't go far enough. Until a Muslim acknowledges that there are, in fact, calls to violence and intolerance against non-Muslims in their central holy book, and then repudiates those specific Koranic passages, I don't feel that Muslim can be trusted.

I know that would sound terrible to someone who doesn't know anything about Islam. But really, this is a pretty straightforward matter. If you call yourself a Muslim, almost everybody on earth is assuming you think the Koran contains the core teachings you will follow. For us non-Muslims who have read the book, that's a scary thought. For those of you who haven't read it yet, these passages will give you an idea: What the Koran Says About Non-Muslims.

So a firm repudiation of those passages would at least acknowledge that the Muslim knows those passages exist and acknowledges that they should be rejected. I know it is entirely possible someone saying so could be lying, but it would at least be a start.

What should we call Muslims who repudiate intolerant and supremacist Islamic teachings? "Moderate" isn't good enough. How about "Scrubbed Muslims?" "Jihad-rejecting Muslims?" "Freed Muslims?" "Friendly Muslims?" "Non-jihadi Muslims?" "Pluralist Muslims?"

I like "Jihad-rejecting Muslims," or JRMs. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, JRMs are the only ones we should engage in "interfaith dialogs" and the only ones allowed to provide counsel for the FBI and the only ones translating documents for security services.

JRMs are the only Muslims who should be allowed to preach in mosques in free countries or teach in madrassas. This is just simple, reasonable self-preservation. A person who calls himself a Muslim but does not openly reject the killing of non-Muslims for being non-Muslims, and who does not reject the overthrow of legitimate democracies, and who does not reject Shari'a law, should not be allowed into those positions. That should be a no-brainer for any person who cares about their government's survival.

So far there aren't many Muslims who are clearly JRMs. The term "moderate Muslims" lets them off the hook — they don't have to risk rejection by their families or perhaps even risk their lives openly repudiating specific Koranic passages, and non-Muslims are left with no way to tell who is a friend and who is a foe.

The term "moderate Muslim" also allows Muslims to remain "undeclared." They don't have to decide whose side they are on. They can secretly harbor a wish that some day their democratic country will be ruled by Shari'a, that some day Islam will reign supreme over the whole world, and that some day all kafirs will pay the jizya (tax on non-Muslims), and yet they may look in every way like a good citizen, trusted by non-Muslims, allowed into influential positions, etc. But if circumstances permitted, they would work toward their Islamic supremacist fantasy. They can function like a kind of sleeper cell in our midst.

By making our own term and defining it, we can make a clear distinction for ourselves and for Muslims, between who is an enemy and who is a friend.

I don't know if simply rejecting jihad would be even be enough, however. One of the most fundamental principles of Islam is that loyalty to Islam comes before loyalty to anything else, including one's country or even one's family. Wouldn't that be a potential problem if the person is working for the government? But maybe our definition of a JRM could include a repudiation of this Islamic hierarchy of loyalties as well.

Another problem is that it says in the Koran 91 times that a Muslim should use Mohammad as an example to emulate. And Mohammad ordered the torture of people, personally participated in beheading 600 people in one night, ordered and led raids on caravans, captured, owned and had sex with slaves, and spent the last ten years of his life conquering and subjugating people. So the definition of a JRM would also have to include a bold rejection of the idea that Mohammad is someone who should be imitated.

Since the stakes are so high for us non-Muslims (being the target of the violence), and since it is easy enough to find out what it actually says in the Koran (that it's a Muslim's duty to fight against the unbelievers until no god is worshiped in the world but Allah), we would be foolish to cavalierly grant our trust to Muslims until they prove themselves trustworthy.

The onus, the burden of proof, is not on non-Muslims.

Muslims will have to prove themselves trustworthy. This whole thing is difficult for all of us, but this distinction must be made. It's a sane response for non-Muslims to make to this sticky situation.

If any Muslim thinks this is offensive or intolerable or somehow outrageous, I think we have discovered someone who is trying to pretend those dangerous passages are not in their holy book, and that sounds like someone we cannot trust.

But if non-Muslims named and defined who we would be willing to trust, and we did it clearly and defiantly, we might find out how many Muslims are on the side of freedom, equality, and pluralism. What do you think?

January 2, 2014

Monty Python's Michael Palin Scared to Make Fun of Islam

Comedians in the free world will make fun of anything, right? Well, not quite. The following was originally published on Answering Muslims:

Trey Parker and Matt Stone received death threats after announcing that Muhammad would be appearing on an episode of South Park, so the network scrubbed the episode of anything remotely offensive in order to avoid becoming a target.

The writers for that week's episode of The Simpsons sympathized with Stone and Parker, acknowledging that criticizing Islam is simply too dangerous:



Likewise, Penn Jillette (of the comedy duo "Penn and Teller") said that he and Teller won't mock Islam because they "have families."

Now the great Michael Palin is admitting that he's afraid to make fun of Islam.

How long can Western civilization continue to claim, on the one hand, that Islam is no different from other religions, and, on the other hand, that Islam is clearly far more dangerous than other religions?

Daily Mail—During his Monty Python days he poked fun at everyone from the Establishment to Christianity.

But thanks to the threat of ‘heavily armed’ fanatics, Michael Palin has admitted there is one comedy taboo he is too scared to break - Islam.

The 70-year-old said religious sensitivities have increased so much since his comedy days it would now be impossible to make 1979 film Life of Brian - which satirised the life of Jesus - let alone laugh at Muslims.

He said: ‘Religion is more difficult to talk about. I don’t think we could do Life of Brian any more. A parody of Islam would be even harder.

‘We all saw what happened to Salman Rushdie and none of us want to get into all that. It’s a pity but that’s the way it is. There are people out there without a sense of humour and they’re heavily armed.’

In 1989, Mr Rushdie was forced into hiding after the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa calling for him to be killed in revenge for his novel The Satanic Verses. (Continue Reading.)

Of course, comedians and comedy writers aren't the only ones who have admitted their fear of Islam. During a Question and Answer session, textual critic Bart Ehrman said that the reason he doesn't write about the Qur'an the way he writes about the Bible is that he values his life. Watch a short video of Bart Ehrman saying so by clicking here.

Will Muslim organizations like CAIR and ISNA condemn Palin, Ehrman, and others as "Islamophobes" and "bigots" for saying that it's too dangerous to criticize Islam? Or is the silencing of critics precisely the goal of these organizations?

For more on this topic, be sure to watch "Don't Make Fun of Muhammad."