Many views regarding Islam are the product of myths about Muslims. While this statement may meet with some controversy, I believe it is common sense
to the majority. The purpose of this thread is to dispel some popular myths about Muslims and what they believe, support, and do.
1. The majority of Muslims support attacks against unarmed civilians in the name of Islam
The truth of the matter is that the majority of Muslims do not
attacks against unarmed civilians. I believe the root of this myth has to do
with polls which ask Muslims if they support suicide bombings in the name of Islam. It is important to understand the question being asked in these
polls, which has nothing to do with attacking unarmed civilians. It has to do with dying as a consequence of attacking, often literally by strapping
a bomb to oneself, but not solely. This speaks more to the Islamic standpoint on suicide than it does homicide, as the context of the query says
nothing about who is being attacked. The question is, essentially, "is it moral to commit suicide in order to level an assault against a force that
is considered an enemy to Islam."
So, not only are the polls used to support this notion not asking the question that believers of this myth believe is being asked; they also show
that the majority of Muslims do not
support dying in an attack to defend ones religion. Having said that, the overwhelming view of Palestinian
respondents in particular is that suicide bombing is at least sometimes justified. In polls where the question being asked does
civilian targets, Muslims are overwhelmingly against it. , , 
2. The Koran (or Qu'ran) endorses the murder of infidels - non-Muslims - as a holy task
The most extreme group of fundamentalist Muslims to achieve recognition for their particular take on the Qu'ran and the Hadiths are surely the
Wahhabis, also known as the Salafis. Still, a major group of Islamic fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia reviewed acts of "Islamic terrorism" and found
that them to be clearly in violation of Shariah, the code of Islamic law.  Further, numerous Fatwas (official interpretations of Islamic law by
Muslim clerics) have condemned terrorism and even declared that according to Sharia, attacks against non-combatants are a capital offense, deserving
of the highest punishment.  The popular and orthodox interpretation of Islamic ideology heavily condemns this sort of action.
3. Islam is an enemy to Women's Rights
This is the most complicated myth to dispel because, to put it frankly, there is more truth to this than the above assertions by far. Islam is used
as a primary support for the notion of degraded Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia and in many parts of the so-called "Muslim World". I would argue,
however, that Islam is the convenient excuse
and not the true rationale behind these policies and atrocities. Historically, women in Islam
enjoyed more property rights than were available in many parts of Christiandom, but today this is not at all the case. Statistically, Women's Rights
in majority Muslim countries are heavily curtailed; there is no denying this fact. The question then becomes this: is the reason for this writ in
Islam? Saudi Arabian feminists argue that Islam gives some traditionally male authorities great latitude of interpretation, somewhat analogous to the
pope. Laws and rules not written anywhere in the Qu'ran or Hadiths can be cast into stone by the people in these positions. Moreover, they argue
that the sexism expressed in these laws is largely a function of tribal custom being expressed as interpretation of Shariah, not a function of Islam
itself. These women are themselves devout Muslims. They see no conflict between their faith and their pursuit of equal rights.  Saudi Arabia is
the gold standard for mistreatment of women with Islam as an excuse. It is important to note that many majority Muslim countries rate well above
Saudi Arabia in terms of Women's Rights.  Saudi Arabia -- the source of many impressions regarding the treatment of women in Muslim culture --
is the exception, not the rule. The practices of limited female movement (driving, et al), female circumcision, the testimony of women in court being
less worthy than that of men, the enforcement of veil-wearing, and many others are not
rooted in Islam.  They are instead rooted in the
attitudes of powerful men who will employ any excuse to support their desire to maintain the status quo in their society, which is most beneficial to
them. This is the view of Muslim feminists, who are the true heroes on the front lines of the battle against sexism in the Muslim world.
In summary, I would like to suggest to the audience -- the judges -- that the "problems of Islam" are not rooted in the Qu'ran or the Hadiths.
They do take support from the words and policies of some powerful Muslims today; this is undeniable. They are not, however, rooted in the discourse
of Islam, any more than the actions of IRA and the persecution of the Crusades were rooted in the discourse of Christianity. They are not rooted in
Islam any more than the actions and aggressive foreign policies pursued under certain United States regimes are rooted in the Constitution of the
United States, or a belief in self-determination and freedom. They are not rooted in Islam any more than the psychotic cult of personality which is
North Korea's current government is the fruit of Buddhism or Confucianism. They are, as always, rooted in the problems of human nature, in the
maintenance of the status quo. And they prop themselves up as they have in every culture using every symbol of unification, be it national,
religious, or personal, at their disposal.
[edit on 6-9-2010 by JohnnyElohim]