Ali Minai in Brown Pundits:
As with most organized religions, the foundational texts and beliefs of Islam can support both peaceful versions and violent ones. Until people recognize and admit that all of these are, in fact, “real Islam”, the issues underlying the problem of jihadi militancy cannot be addressed. If the violence is “not real Islam”, the implication is that Islam – as practiced by most Muslims – needs no reform. But that is manifestly not the case. The scourge of violence in the name of Islam will be removed only when Muslims in general come to reject all instances of violence in the name of Islam, including those that are celebrated in scripture and history. When conquerors who killed “infidels” are regarded as heroes of the faith; when the world is seen as divided into the “house of Islam” and the “house of war”; when dying for God is considered better than living for the sake of fellow humans; when non-Muslims are regarded as morally inferior; when many standard prayers end by asking God for “victory against the infidels”; and when apostasy and blasphemy are regarded as capital crimes – how can jihadi violence be seen as anything but the logical conclusion of such ideas and practices? And yet, these are all part of “mainstream” Islam – some of them derived directly from holy texts. What the extremists are doing is merely taking these ideas more literally and acting on them. The main thing separating most ordinary believing Muslims from the extremists is not so much the narrowness of belief – which they both share – but the willingness to match that belief with action. Small wonder, then, that the militants see non-violent Muslims as hypocrites, which in many ways is worse than being an infidel.