Islam is not just a religion. Islamic law has been established and legal rulings issued for some 1400 years. Islamic legal scholars have issued legal rulings based upon the Koran in a way that is similar to our legal system ruling upon the Constitution. The present day president of Iran is internationally considered an authority on the Koran and Islamic law. As within our own legal system, disagreements exist. However, because Islam has no national entity, many differences are unresolved.
The Koran and Islam were started long before the concept of the nation-state. Islam was built as a religion with the authority and functions of the modern national government. Islam has an entire legal system. It has a foreign policy. For example, the rules for declaring and ending wars. Islamic law has many of the rules for entering and honoring treaties with other states. Islamic law has rules for commerce, including a prohibition on earning interest. It contains rules for divorce and inheritance. These are some of the reasons why the Islamic world has such difficulty with the modern idea of nationalism for the nation where they reside. The very culture is much more loyal to Islam and the clan than any concept of an independent nation-state. After all, the national government is a relative newcomer. Many Middle Eastern governments were only established in the 20th century. In contrast, Islam has been around for more than a millennium. On top of this, the very idea of separating the ‘religion’ from the state is an anti-Islamic concept. You would have to leave Islam to even consider this concept. 1400 years of legal rulings have made it VERY clear that the penalty for leaving Islam is death.
In Afghanistan in 2007, a man was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity. To not enforce this penalty would be considered apostate by Islam. This is similar to the issue that triggered the riots that broke out in Nigeria in 2006 when the court refused to have a convicted adulteress stoned to death.
The overall point is that Islam is much, much more than just a religion. It is not only a way of life (And plenty of death penalties) but also a governmental system complete with enforcement mechanisms. Islam can field an army, and has done so countless times throughout its history. It is doing so now. All of these Islamic terror organizations seek to install Islamic governance complete with Islamic law. This concept of Islam as a nation-state is still common throughout the Islamic world. That is where the enemy army comes from.
At the end of March, 2008 a group of Muslim leaders met and issued a declaration: "The obligation of the Islamic Nation [is] to regard the sending of foreign warships into Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and prevent the smuggling of arms to Gaza, as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression, and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation. This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways."
These guys are speaking as if they represent a nation. This is a declaration of war, but without a nation-state to hold accountable? Only governments can declare war. Islam is not a nation-state. Muslim waters? Only the modern national government has the authority to defend ‘waters’ or ‘lands’. Modern political thought since the rise of the nation-state has determined that only a national government can be in ‘occupation’ of another governments ‘land’. This type of issue is of the type that wars are fought over. Such as the state of Virginia leaving the Union in 1861. The Confederacy claimed that they defended that land. The Union disagreed. Or France being ‘occupied’ by Germany 1940-1944. The United States disagreed with that one. An additional problem is that Islam has been built to expand at non-Muslim expense.
"The presumption is that the obligation of Jihad will continue (Interrupted only by truces) until the entire world converts to Islam or is subjected to Muslim rule." "Traditional Islam views the world as belonging to one of two houses, the house of Islam and the house of war". (Bernard Lewis 2003)
No wonder the culture is so easily insulted. Just about any claim that in any way contests Islamic law or rules is a just cause for open warfare. This is an important, additional reason why separation of the "church" of Islam from any and all governance will be fought with violence. Yet in order for the Muslim world to enter the modern world, this MUST occur. Or else we can all become Muslims and live under Islamic rule.
This can be seen as a major contributing cause of the Arab-Israeli wars. Seen in this way, it is no wonder that no peace has been obtained. The best hope for true peace is change within Islam. The very idea of a ‘Nation of Islam’ must change to the point where Islam is a religion that has no power to enforce its rules or ‘laws’. An example is the Catholic Church and abortion. The Church cannot enforce its prohibition of abortion upon those that live in the United States. The Church can attempt to persuade people to see its side, but it has no enforcement authority. Similar to the Mormon prohibition on drinking booze. The law in Utah allows people to purchase alcohol. The Mormon Church discourages this, but cannot enforce its own law. This is not the case with Islam. This is what the wars in the Middle East are really all about. This is the root cause of Islamic terrorism. In a way that is similar to the issue of slavery in the U.S., the war is well worth fighting, for both sides. As with fighting slavery, this will be resisted violently and with organized warfare. As we are seeing today with Islamic terrorist organizations. The real trick will be to see if we can accomplish this without a terrorist organization obtaining and deploying any weapons of mass destruction.
I find this unlikely unless the United States was far more aggressive prosecuting Islamic governments that are supporting the armies of this "Nation of Islam".