I’m almost half-way through my second reading of the Quran and find myself wondering what it would take to make Westerners understand Islamic ideology. I could explain how Islam is a religious, legal and political framework for life . . . but others have already written books about that. So I decided I’ll just frame the problem of Islam as briefly as I can and let the reader consult the Quran if they doubt me. If this leads to just one person reading the Quran, then I’ve accomplished something.
Everybody should read the Quran. Informed is forewarned. Ex-President Bush was incorrect to claim that "Extremists have hijacked Islam". It's the other way around: Islam has hijacked extremists. It's not the adherents that are the root problem: it's the religious, legal and political ideologies of Islam. And Islam is based on the Quran.
Any Muslim, earnest about Islam, wants only to do Allah’s bidding. The Quran, in turn, is the primary, immutable, source for information about what Allah wants. Although Islam has internal divisions, Quran is the same for all Muslims: and it’s in the Quran (and hadiths) that violent militancy is enshrined. This is why peace is rarely emphasized in Islam – except by its apologists. The one exception I can think of is Sufism. But this exception begs the rule: why are Sufi Muslims numerically insignificant compared to Sunni or Shia Muslims? The answer returns to sources . . . the militants can always point to the Quran as confirmation of their piety. After all, militants don’t just talk the talk: they walk the walk. Serious Muslims must admit that militant Muslims are more like Muhammad than are moderate Muslims. The Quran makes it clear that moderate Muslims are a disgrace in Allah’s eyes.
The Quran is the verbatim word of Allah. Its violence is personified by Muhammad. Given this combination (the immutable truth of Allah’s word and Muhammad’s manifestation of that truth), there is little chance that ideological moderation can ever prevail in the hearts and minds of common Muslims. I agree with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan and other ex-Muslims: Islam (because of the Quran) is NOT reformable.