This is an article in the series A Look Into Islam.
There has been much written and said about Islam in the last several years, but how much do you really know about Islam? Can you name the five pillars of Islam? Have you read the Qur’an? I must confess that I haven’t read it all either. So how can we learn more about Islam? There are non-Islamic sites that point out the fallacies and errors of Islam, but I am distrustful of each one I have seen, and I won’t link to any of them. I have seen too many anti-Mormon sites use the same ham-fisted bashing tactics that I find on most anti-Islam sites. For example, several sites that purport to tell the truth of Islam claim that everything is carefully researched and documented, but then they proceed to let the accusations fly without any documentation to back up their claims. And I have noticed several sites that have said they would not engage in any ad hominem attacks, but it doesn’t take long before the comments descend into bashing and snarky asides.
So assuming you want to do so, where do you go to learn about Islam? I suggest you go to the source and spend your time on the sites written by Muslims themselves, rather than by their detractors. Only after you gain an understanding of what Muslims believe as expressed by Muslims, then you can spend your time with the detractors.
I did a quick search and turned up three sites about Islam to start off with, but these are by no means the only or best sites. They are merely the first few that caught my eye.
Again, these sites aren’t the best, merely the first I turned up in some admittedly quick searches. And while they are written by Muslims, I don’t think they are the most effective Islamic apologist arguments when I can easily refute them. For example, one under the title “Islam: A Religion of Terror?” asks whether we should judge Islam by the actions of some of its followers:
One of the many short comings which has arisen in the West, is judging Islam by the conduct of a minority of its people. By doing this, segments of Western society have deliberately played off the desperate actions of many Muslims, and have given it the name of Islam. Such behaviour is clearly not objective and seeks to distort the reality of Islam. For if such a thing was done – judge a religion by the conduct of its people – then we too could say that all Christianity is about is child molesting and homosexuality  whilst Hinduism was all about looting and breaking up mosques .
The two numbers refer to the following footnotes:
 By using the many cases of child abuse and homosexuality by priests, Such a generalisation about Christianity could be made
 By using the incident of the destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodya, India in December 1992 by Hindu zealots, such generalisations could be made about Hinduism
Were the “many cases of child abuse and homosexuality by priests” perpetrated in the name of Christianity while the priests chanted “God is great”, or were they the acts of individual sinful men? And if one act of Hindu destruction is sufficient example to typify an entire religion, then the 8,500+ acts of violence committed by Muslims since 9/11/2001 are 8500 times more damning of Islam.
There are many examples of Muslims committing violence and murder in the name of Islam, and often they chant “God is great” while doing so. Clearly they are committing these acts as a form of religious devotion, but is all of Islam to blame for the despicable acts of a few? No, the person who holds the bloody knife is to blame for the death. And what about the people who stand by and chant “Allahu Akbar”? It is clear that they are willing accomplices to the murder. What about an imam who does nothing violent himself, but who preaches bloody jihad in England? Does he share in some responsibility for the violence caused by those who were inspired by his hatred? And what culpability do Muslims have when they stand by quietly and say nothing to condemn the murders committed by their coreligionists? In Latin, “qui tacet consentire videtur” means “he who is silent is taken to agree”; by their silence, are they not consenting to the violence? Frankly, I wouldn’t go that far. It’s very possible that Muslim silence comes from fear of being the next victim, not from tacit consent. After all, the Ummah has shown a remarkably low flash point for anger and violence. Pope Benedict XVI quotes someone from centuries earlier questioning the justice and virtue of Islam, and Muslims around the world blow up and call for his head — literally. Personally, I cannot accept that Islam is the “Religion of Peace” as some people say. It has proven by the actions of many of its followers that it cannot claim that title.
But don’t take my word for it. Go take a look for yourself at what Islam preaches and what it practices, and come up with your own informed opinion. After all, isn’t it high time you learned about Islam?