Is Islam inherently violent? Tawfik Hamid believes it is. Hamid was once a member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, but now seeks to reform Islam. He argues firmly that Western “progressives” now impede efforts to make Islam more humane and less violent. This op-ed piece is quite thought-provoking.
Whether you agree or disagree with Hamid, the more basic questions seem applicable beyond Islam. What is it that makes some religious people violent? How do individual needs and attitudes interact with social dynamics to produce violence? These are issues that we need to understand much more completely than we do presently.