No disrespect Stavro, but I must disagree with you re: Bin Laden. He is true to his beliefs and convictions for sure, but this doesn't mean said beliefs and convictions are universally accepted by all Muslims. In fact, they're not. The truth is, Bin Laden belongs to an ulra-conservative fundementalist group called Wahabbism (which most Sa'udi's belong to).
Wahabism refers to Ibn Temia, the Saudi cleric of the 14th century, as their ultmiate teacher and source of interpretation. Ibn Abd El Wahab was a student of Ibn Tamia's writings and ideology. Ibn Temia, who lived in conditions similar to that of the 7th century, represented the pure form of Islam as represented by the prophet himself according to the available sources like El-Serah, the interpretations of Tabari, Imam Ahmed, Ibn Hanbal, the Haddith ..etc. It is not the customs or the table manners that are of particular interest to the interest of the society, but it is the aggression and rejection of a peaceful political coexistence that Islam teaches and that Ibn Temia dug centuries after.
Long before Ibn temia existed or Wahabists were able to advance their agenda, since the time of the prophet, Islam was violent in nature based on Muhamed's teachings itself. I do not believe that anybody can claim more authority than Muhamed on understanding the revelation of the religion.
The jurisdictions also existed long before Wahabism existed, and they were not different in their treatment of the non-muslim societies and individuals. Wahabism did not invent, it just confirmed what was existing. We might study Islam from historical perspective, to understand the political scene more and the ambitions of Quresh to dominate the arabic penninsula, and it will help us understand the sources of revelatin and its reasons better (asbab el-nezul) which was mostly tailored to solve a personal dipsute or to support a political move. The origins of Islam as a christian heresy is also very interesting, yet all that to us non-muslims is science but to Muslim it is something totally different. It is God's word and command that they are asked to live.
When a multi-layered capsulated veiled Muslim woman proclaims in all courage that she has the right to kill a Swedish comic writer for his ridicule of Muhamed, she is observing the Haddith that gave her and every muslim this right. When an apostate is killed, it is because the Haddith asks for that. When a woman is beaten, it is because a clear Quran verse encouraged that. When signed treaties are abrogated between muslim countries and non-muslim entities, they are following the footsteps of Muhamed who has abrogated his treaties with the Jews and exterminated them, canceled his treaty with the "infidels" of Mekka and attacked them. In general, any muslim follows the principle of "tekia" that allows him to lie, deceive and conspire against the country that he lives in (as the case with the Western country), to the degree of denying his faith, as long as he is a minority and weak.
As far as the West is concerned, the muslims follow the excellent recipe of Sayed Qutb in his cultural changing book "Ma3alem 3ala El-6aree2", that identified the weakness of the muslims as unsurmountable and that the domination of the West has to be achieved by other means than the sword of the 7th century. He build his way up through a strong foundation of islamic dogmas and principles until he suggests the use of the Western systems to dominate the West. Immigrate, breed, take over the majority of population, use democracy to vote muslims in government, and dominate the West.
They are doing an excellent job in this regard.
Thankfully, the majority condemns his ridiculous throwback interpretations.
I did not experience anything else but sympathy for the case of Bin Laden by muslims. They are true to their beliefs. Even if we disagree on whether Wahabism represents Islam or not, the Arabic media is dominated by fanatic channels that cannot produce but hate to the West.
So, if moderate muslims exist, they have no connection to the true Islam as practiced by Muhamed.
There is a well known hadith (saying) attributed to Muhammad about how camel urine (I'm not making this up) cures a multitude of diseases. Now obviously, a Western educated doctor hopefully knows better.
I am well aware of this haddith, and the rest of the haddith about the wings of the flie and el-7agamah and the urine of the prophet himself. There is now a frenzy called "prohpetic medicine" that is now institutionalized in Arabic medical schools and that follows no medical principle except the haddith and Quran. While it might sound funny to non-muslims, to muslims it is simply their religion that they have to follow without discrimination.
There is no misinterpretation here. There is also no misinterpretation in the "pleasure-marriage" teachings or "the lennding out of wives" that has been practiced by the Prophet himself. The "breast-feeding of adult men" again was oracticed by Aisha, the Prophet's wife and based on a valid and authentic Haddith.
If you look at Indonesian and Malaysian Muslims, they're relatively peaceful people (with the notably exception of the province of Bandah Aceh). The reason isn't because they don't take their religion seriously, but rather because of the way they interpret it.
They do not speak arabic and they have no access to the TRUE islamic sources. They might interpret it as they like, and that might be what Cleveland and GiC were refering to. But the majority of problems are coming from the arabic speaking population, and they have arabic schools set in Germany, France, US, Canada. Misinterpretation will become more difficult.