Actually I have read substantial portions of the Qur'an, and quite a few Hadith.
You may just be further ahead than many Americans. But I have lived Islam for nearly a decade of my life. I was previously married to a Muslima (Muslim woman), I helped found an international Da'wa (missionary) foundation. I had a good grasp of Arabic and recited all the prayers in Arabic. I was elected the president of the local chapter of the Muslim Students Association. We held major conferences with guest speakers at two of the universities here. I was regularly invited to speak on radio and at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. My housemates at the time (Pakistani, Turkish) turned our apartment living room into the local Mosque when there was none in town. I befriended Muslims from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Indonesia, Sudan, Egypt, Albania, Bosnia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Syria, etc... I have flown to 5 major US cities in a plane owned by an Egyptian doctor to visit different masajid (mosques) in order to gather donations for a mosque. I wrote to the Saudi Gov't in order to secure 50 Qur'ans for the local Muslim population.
James, I lived and breathed Islam. But, I'll grant that though this doesn't make me an expert by any means, you will never ever be able to tell me that Islam is not a violent religion. Now before you start in, I didn't say ALL Muslims are prone to violence. I've prayed next to grandfatherly old Turkish men who were kind, patient and who abhorred violence. But James, ISLAM is a violent religion. I studied the context of verses of the Qur'an (known as asbab al-nazul
). I had volumes on the Hadith of Muhammad. I had a huge collection of Shi'a Hadith known as the Nahj al-Balagha
(the sermons of 'Ali).
Again, James, all Muslims aren't violent. But there is a reason why Islam has always had bloody borders. I hope you'll reconsider your views.