David P. Goldman, who writes as “Spengler” for Asia Times, has wide interests including demographics, economics and comparative religion. Here for Law & Liberty he considers the question “Is Islam a Violent Religion?” He poses the question thusly.
Most practice of Islam is emphatically not violent, but most religious violence is perpetrated by Muslims in the name of religion. Violence is not a necessary characteristic of Islam as a religion, but it is evidently a susceptibility. Is there something about Islam as a religion that predisposes its believers toward terrorism?
A preeminent Catholic scholar of Islam and former advisor to Benedict XVI, Fr. Samir Khalid Samir, S.J., observe: "Many Westerners fear Islam as a “religion of violence.” Muslims often call simultaneously for tolerance and understanding as well as for violence and aggression. In fact, both options are present in the Qur’an and the Sunna. These are two legitimate manners—two distinct ways to interpret, to understand, and to live Islam. It is up to the individual Muslim to decide what he wants Islam to be."
Goldman concludes with this somber summary.
Large parts of the Muslim world feel that modernity has passed them by, or even worse, that integration into modern life would destroy Muslim identity. The deadly combination of the sacral—the sacrifice of the individual in service of Allah—and the existential will continue to nourish the likes of ISIS, Hamas, and other monsters of the ancient world that intrude into modern life.Evidence suggests Goldman may have framed the issue correctly. Hat tip to RealClearPolicy for the link.