Ever since I was in 4th grade, I have been interested in military history. I was ashamed of this for a long time, afraid of being thought of as a 'war monger'. As time went on, I realized that I had amassed a great deal of knowledge that many others simply did not have. I began to become more interested in current events and could see problems with a great deal of analysis that I was seeing on the news. Most of my attention was devoted to what we call “Western” history and in particular modern warfare. (The U.S. Civil War to the present.) Then came 9/11/01.
Knowing only a little about U.S. engagements with Islam, (The Barbary pirates) my knowledge was basically limited to the Middle East only as far back as the formation of Israel and its conflicts with its neighbors. After 9/11/01, I began a more through research into Islam and its history.
I started by attempting to see both sides. I read a bunch of stuff by Karen Armstrong and like minded authors. I read anti-Islamic stuff, like Bernard Lewis. I found it interesting that I was having so much trouble finding much that was not leaning heavily to one side or the other. One such book was written by a member of a group that attempts to resolve differences between religions.
I found that supporters of Islam like Karen Armstrong focus on Mohammed's actions and the phrases of the Koran that talked about personal behavior, in a way similar to Jesus in the bible. I noticed that those who opposed Islam focused upon Islamic law and its application. In my studies of warfare, I have noted many excuses that are used to take violent action in the form of organized warfare. The real reasons many times are hidden, but as a rule, it does not take all that many. My favorite example is the U.S. Civil War. Slavery was the single, greatest reason for our most costly war. Other reasons like loyalty to state over Federal government contributed. Most wars boil down to just a small handful of real reasons. Islam is different.
I have studied Islam for more than 10 years now. In my research, I have found so many reasons for people to kill each other that I was stunned. It explains why so much conflict exists in all areas of the world where Islam is in contact with the rest of the world. This multi-part series I have put together is only some of the issues, but I believe it covers the most important aspects. I have identified 7 issues that I believe people will fight and kill to both eliminate and to defend. These issues are so established that like slavery, they are part of the culture of Islam. In other words, those who believe in them will die fighting for them as well as kill to protect them.