If most non-Muslims believe Islam is peaceful or that all religions are basically the same, we will be vulnerable to the relentless Islamic pressure to yield concessions, orthodox Muslims will exploit our Achilles' heel, and we will lose. If enough non-Muslims know what it says in core Islamic texts, the relentless drive of orthodox Muslims to gain political power will be thwarted at every turn and the threat will be contained. We will consistently win those battles.
But so far, schools, politicians, and media are all failing to fight this battle. That leaves ordinary citizens to do what needs to be done. You and me.
So the biggest task ahead of us is educational. No, it's more than education. It's persuasion. It's influence. People need to be reached. People need to be informed about Islam's basic principles. But many resist and reject the information. That's why this is not a simple educational project for most people. We need to find ways around the resistance. We need to get through.
The first and most important principle of influence is to gain and maintain rapport. When you lose rapport, you lose the ability to influence.
In a communication discipline called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, otherwise known as NLP, you can find lots of good books, DVDs, seminars, and audio programs about gaining rapport.
"Try a brief experiment to demonstrate the importance of rapport for yourself," wrote Andreas and Faulkner in their book, NLP. "Think of a communication situation in your life where you were unsuccessful at getting what you wanted with another person — whether it was characterized by conflict or just frustration. Now think of another communication situation where you did get what you wanted — both you and the other person were satisfied with the result of the interaction. Now compare the two for the presence or absence of rapport. When people make this comparison repeatedly, they find that their communication successes are characterized by rapport and their failures by a lack of rapport. Rapport is a fundamental prerequisite for all effective communication. If you don't have rapport, you simply will not be effective with other people."
Our number one task is to get more people to accept the facts about Islamic texts. This is how you can fight. We must be effective with people. So the first skill to master is gaining and maintaining rapport. Start here:
Gain Rapport to Help Get Through to Them
Rapport Comes Before Influence
The Magic of Rapport
When you are good at keeping rapport with people while talking about Islam, please share with us what works. Help other counterjihadists succeed in this vital task. Share your discoveries here: Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims.