The majority of the muslims say the terrorists do not represent what Islam stands for. Muslims say they do not condone the terrorist actions either. I think it's about time to start doing something about it themselves. If their name is being tarnished, don't you think they would make an effort to stop it as well?
I live in New Zealand, and most of the worst expressions of hate I have heard have come in the name of Christianity, not Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism or any of the other religions. But there's a reason for that. Christianity is the most popular religion in New Zealand, and the English-speaking world for that matter.
And hate isn't really limited to religious folk. With any absolutist philosophy you get hate. Unfortunately there's a correlation between religion and absolutism. Agnostics, for instance, tend to be less absolutist that religious folk. But then they're probably less absolutist than devout atheists too. After all, I've heard some very closed-minded things said about religion by atheists.
I like the basic concept behind religion. You get some stories about life and you use them as your life coach. You sit in a place of worship and someone yarns on to you about how to live. The problem is when those stories go unexamined. At best you can spend your life hitting your head against a brick wall. At worst you become dogmatic and close-minded, eventually absolutist, and hateful towards things and people who live by other stories, and you might even seek to destroy those stories and those who tell them.
I guess I'm saying that I think organised religion is dangerous. When Doctor Phil tells me how I could live my life better he's not doing it with the authority of God behind him. He's just giving me some suggestions. I can take them with a grain of salt and hang them alongside all the other ideas I have. When a religious leader tells you a story, you might be tempted to believe that he's speaking for your Creator. Your right to challenge the story is gone. Worse: the rights of others to challenge the story is gone.
Moderate religious organisations work because the people that go to them are moderate, the leaders are moderate, and they don't pretend to be infallible messengers of God. Moderate religious adherents are selective with which parts of their holy scriptures they subscribe to. They come to their own relationship with God and they appreciate that others may have a different relationship that amounts to viewing God from a different perspective.
So I'm agnostic.
The worst religious threat to my life in New Zealand, is not fundamentalist Islam, it's fundamentalist Christianity. The Destiny Church, a fundamentalist charasmatic church, is making huge inroads in provincial areas, in particular, they have a lot of support amongst the indiginious Maori population. If they manage to hijack the simmering ethnic tension for their own agenda we could have a major hatefest on our hands. Especially as the number of people identifying as Maori continues to grow.
That worrys me. Much more than terrorism. But it doesn't worry me much. We live in a basically decent society. People treat each other well. If your government inflicts war or oppression on peoples in distant lands over a long period of time, eventually a few of them are going to get angry enough to get violent. But really the level of violence visited upon the U.S. or U.K. is miniscule compared to the amount of violence they have committed in the name of their foreign policy. Most people subjegate quietly.