Originally posted by vistesd
This is not an answer, just some commentary on each of the listed issues:
(1)(a) The Qur’an liberalized women’s rights dramatically over the pre-Islamic culture, and as a religious text, far more than either the Jewish or Christian scriptures; (b) I would argue that the ahadith cited in support of suppressing women are suspect and probably inauthentic ( ...[text shortened]... rd issue has anything to do with the religion, per se. Sonhouse's comments are on point there.
Speaking of Islam...I read a fairly interesting book recently that devoted some time ot the question of Jihad and "suicidal aggression" here is a quote:
The End of Faith by Sam Harris
"Given the vicissitudes of Muslim history, however, i suspect that the starting point I have chosen for this book - that of a single suicide bomber following rhe consequences of his beliefs - is bound to exasperate many readers, since it ignores most of what commentators on the Middle East have said about the roots of Muslim violence. It ignore the painful history of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It ignores the collusion of Western powers with corrupt dictatorships. It ignore the endemic poverty and lack of economic opportunity that now plague the Arab world. But I will argue that we can ignore all of these things - or treat them only to place them safely on the shelf - because the world is filled with poor uneducated, and exploited peoples who do nto commit acts of terrorism, indeed who would never commit terrorism of the sort that has become so commonplace among Muslims; and the Muslim world has no shortage of educated and prosperous men and women, suffering little more that their infatuation with Koranic eschatology, who are eager to murder infidels for God's sake."
Later, he quotes a chilling passage from the hadith:
"Jihad is your duty under any ruler, be he godly or wicked.
A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah's Cause in the forenoon or in the afternoon is better than the world and whatever is in it.
A day and a night fighting on the frontier is better than a month of fasting and prayer.
Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were givemn the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing rhe superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah's Cause).
He who dies without having taken part in a campaign dies in a kind of unbelief.
Paradise is in the shadow of swords."