This documentary film is based around an examination of Islam, namely the religion's trend of committing violent acts against non-Muslims. "Islam: What the West Needs to Know" features scathing commentary from numerous scholars of Islam including Abdullah Al-Araby, Robert Spencer, Serge Trifkovic, Wallid Shoebat and Bat Ye'or. Drawing from Islamic texts, the documentary examines Islam directly in the context of the religion's own canonical precepts.
The first three parts of the film explore Islamic justification for violence against non-Muslims. According to the commentators, the Qur'an not only sanctions, but outright encourages violence against those who do not follow the religion's teachings. Based on the concept of Jihad, the commentators point out that Islam calls for followers to commit acts of violence in order to impose the will of Allah across the world. The film goes on to explore the political ramifications of Islam, namely the imposition of Islamic law which, in addition to religious belief, governs personal and political actions of individuals and states. Here, Islam is exposed for its divisive thinking and methodology. As the commentators point out, the Islamic world is separated into two distinct realms: "The House of Islam" or "the house of peace" which refers to lands where fundamentalist Islamism is upheld, and "The House of War", which refers to all other areas of the world. "Islam: What the West Needs to Know" thus argues that Muslims are outright required to engage in violence against non-practitioners.