The Teachings of Islam
The teachings of Islam have been distorted in the Western world ever since the time of Muhammad. Christian attacks on Islam date from the Crusades during which 'Western culture' found its first real sense of identity. This identity was defined as being fundamentally hostile to Islam. Not Islam as it really is but a completely unapologetic pack of lies about Islam. To mention such things may seem a bit strange because it is so far in the past. However, the level of ignorance about Islam continues to astonish, and part of this ignorance is due to the persistence of this Christian reaction to Islam - to lie about it. The type of lie has moved on of course because truth eventually prevails. Although some Christians still use them, the charges that Muslims worship Al-Lut (a pre-Islamic pagan god for the moon), or that the use of the honorific title "we" in the Qur'an implies a plurality or trinity of God, or that Muslims are sexually promiscuous, or that Muhammad was the chief idol they worshipped are no longer even remotely tenable. The allegations made to try and discredit Islam these days focus on a number of things none of which stand up to any serious scrutiny. I do not wish to imply that everyone who makes these allegations is a liar - this is certainly not the case. Rather I suppose what typically happens is that someone is all too keen to find something vaguely discrediting and jumps to ignorant conclusions. Either that or they deliberately hide something of what they know so as to present only half the picture. These allegations then get repeated without enough concern for investigating them properly at that stage.
The 'Christian' West criticised Islam's moral teachings firstly on the basic grounds that it was way to liberal - it allowed freedom of thought, polygamy, even Divorce!!! These days the criticism is the other way round - Islam is way too strict. It insists on no sex outside marriage: it has no concept of gay rights, etc. This is fairly ironic but shows just how things have gone in the West. Islam has not changed its teachings.
Today the main concept people in the West have about Islam is from its media image. This is driven by the relevant companies seeking to make an exciting story. Unfortunately this means all too often little more than demonising Islam. Many Muslims see the Zionists behind this and indeed the Jews are the great storytellers in the media, particularly in Hollywood. Recent movies such as "True Lies" and "The Peacemaker" tell exciting nonsense stories about mad Muslims about to blow up the US with nuclear weapons. These stories serve to obscure the facts of the real situation: It is Israel that has the nuclear weapons, has continually shown aggressive expansionist aims since its foundation, and disregard for the human rights of their neighbouring Arab population - not to say hatred. These considerations makes it more likely that any nuclear attack would be from Israel than from any Muslim country.
Anyway, the situation is not so simple and it is probably much closer to the truth to attribute these distorting attacks on Islam to a mixture of motives of money, nationalism, racism (Zionism is just one form of this) and ambition on the part of a number of "experts" who quietly retire when they are shown to be rather unbalanced and unqualified.
These images of Islam must be forgotten since they are largely, if not entirely, fictional. However the questions that arise out of them need to be tackled. Each little lie created by these stories has to be responded to. 'Oppression of Women', 'Terrorism', 'intolerance', 'barbaric punishments' and more are routinely wheeled out. This section will try to answer most of these points and explain what Islam really teaches.
Where the teachings come from
Rights and Responsibilities
The use of force
Islam and Secularism