I've been reading "Islam Unveiled" by Robert Spencer. As I stated in one of my previous posts, I purchased this book in an effort to learn more about Islam, and hopefully, to reduce the fear I have of the religion and its adherents. Unfortunately, the knowledge is having the opposite effect: it is increasing my fear rather than diminishing it. Islam, when looked at coolly, non-rhetorically, and without apology, is as bellicose as the terrorists (Al Qaeda, Hamas, PLO, Hizbollah, Mujahedin, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, et. al.) suggest it is; that far from being Islamic "fundamentalists" i.e., marginalized on the fringe, they are far closer to mainstream Islamic belief and practice than leaders in the West want to accept.
Fear is the motivating factor here. We are Ostriches. We may not be involved in a war with Islam, but Spencer makes a case that Islam is engaged in a war with us. He cites numerous statements by Imams and clerics both in the West and in the Middle East which support this thesis, some of them sufficiently highly placed that they are invited to prayer meetings at the White House. We want to believe that the terrorists (see the above list) are abberations, that they do not reflect true Islam, that the majority of Muslims accept the Koran as poetic metaphor and not the literal Word of God, and have an enlightened disregard for the Koran's constant, insistent calls for violence against the infidel.
But that does not seem to be the case, proven by even a cursory reading of the Koran. Full disclosure: I have not read the Koran, nor do I anticipate doing so. But Spencer quotes liberally from the book and I am convinced of his scholarship. To call Osama Bin Laden an Islamic Fundamentalist is to infer that violence and terrorism are "fundamental" values to Islam. And that may be true, uncomfortably for the Western rationalist. More to follow.