Saw this video on a friend's wall:
Sorry for the lack of embed, but it's on Facebook. In it, a Muslim tells us that the extremists are not of true Islam. I know where he's coming from, but ...
I was raised in a nasty version of Christianity, and as I got older and found a voice to fire back, I was largely met with the Christian version of this guy: people who simply deny that the violent, the abusers, the guilters, the terrorists are "real Christians". Those infinitely more interested in defending the good name of the tribe than in listening to its victims. Not one of us, not my problem, they say, and cherry pick some verse or another to back up their position.
In other words, they make the very same argument--cherry picked scripture and all!--that the extremists made about them for, oh, I don't know, the entirety of my childhood. Now who's right, exactly? Yeah, sure enough, the nice ones are right--the Bible really does say, "Do unto others." But hey, look at that! The nasty ones are right, too--the Bible really does say to kill the gays and breathes nary a word of condemnation for the slave trade it established.
So long as the 'good' ones continue to proclaim the book in which the bad stuff is written, and the epistemology of blind faith and revelation which leads to it, any argument just boils to down "Nuh uh YOU'RE wrong." I suppose it's true that the good ones do less damage, but they cover for the bad ones. Keep telling people that "God" can speak to them and sure enough "God" will keep telling people some really nasty shit--and what do you say in return, having once told them to follow that voice against the world? Proclaim as the perfect source of all morality a book that will not suffer a woman to teach--are you then innocent when others discriminate against women on its basis?
I'm not as intimately familiar with Islam as with Christianity, but in this at least they are precisely analogous.