Earlier today, I wrote about a remarkably civil Islamic response to Islamic images which some Muslims think are un-Islamic ("A Muslim Protest: Peaceful, Civil, Courteous").
Now, I read about Al Qaeda's kiddie program: children, age 6 to 14, trained to be good Muslims by killing infidels for Allah and Al Qaeda. (Details, and a link to clips from the Al Qaeda video, is at "Al Qaeda Trains Young Boys as Terrorists, Tapes Show.")
No wonder it's hard for an outsider to figure out what Islam is, and what it stands for. Some devout Muslims paint religious pictures that other devout Muslims say are un-Islamic. Meanwhile, still other Muslims are teaching kids to use automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and suicide vests.
The impression I get is that Muslims believe whatever the nearest Imam says, and that the Imam comes up with 'true Islam' based on what Imam friends of his say when they get together, modified by the local culture, and (on occasion) his own psychiatric conditions.
Being an American, I'm inclined to assume that 'democracy' is a good thing, associated with good things like
- Grassroots common sense
- (Occasionally) responsive government
Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.