"We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nation who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.

The Ambassador (of Tripoli) answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever the could be found, and to make slave of all they could take as prisoners, and that every (Muslims) who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise."

~ Thomas Jefferson, "Letters of Thomas Jefferson."

Not many people know the very first encounter America had with the Muslim world. It began in the early 1800s with the attacks on American ships by the North African Barbary States--Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli (Libya). American shipmen were kidnapped, tortured, and forced into hard labor by their captives. The attacks were an effort to force the United States to pay a tribute or ransom to the Barbary States in exchange for free passage through the Mediterranean, like many European coastal nations had become accustomed to doing, and release of American prisoners who would otherwise be sold into slavery. Thus began the hostile relationship between Islam and America two hundred years ago, and two hundred years after the first attacks on Europe by Barbary Pirates. Not that Europe didn't have it coming. But this would be the first time that Muslim terrorists made the mistake of waking the American Eagle. And with the subsequent outcomes of the two Barbary Wars, it didn't end well for them then, either. It also resulted in two ongoing policies of the American military: 1) A strong navy, and 2) The policy of never negotiating again with terrorists.

Keep in mind this is not an attack on all Muslims. Nor is it claiming the other religions are free from taint of one kind or another. But I have come to notice something about Muslims that I find annoying:

Christians will often show up and attack other religions. This is true. But I have also seen Christians coming to the defense of other religions that are being attacked by other people. I have also seen other people coming to the defense of Islam. I have myself done this and that and elsewhere on a number of occasions, to the point that I myself was attacked for defending the non-Islam.

But what I have almost never seen is a Muslim coming to the defense of another religion in an argument. In fact, religious discussions involving Muslims usually come in one of two forms: 1) Some Muslim claiming Islam is the one true religion or some form of Islamic apolgetics, or 2) Some Muslim attacking another religion directly.

I want to know why that is?

This is not about "my religion is better than yours." Personally I think this goes for all Abrahamic religions, who've done countless things in the name of God. That's how the God of Abraham and his teachings work. We can say Jews did it less but Jews are a minority. I'd argue all of the fundamentalists of the Abrahamic faiths are bigots and will find rationalizing and reason for attacking other faiths if they choose to. But I'd also argue that I still think most of them don't care to under normal circumstances. War or destruction of your country by foreign entitites I don't consider "normal circumstances" or oppression of the ignorant and brainwashing by religious scholars with support of the government.

I'm not gonna lie, rethoric that brushes all Muslims together is not just harming the fundamentalists. And I do know many mainstream muslims speaking out against it in my surroundings, but no cameras are generally pointed at them, and let's be real, they moderates are often scared of these extremists or fundamentalists too, either that or it never seems to be enough apologizing or distancing themselves from certain things, so some people just don't anymore.

As I said, I am not even that religious as a muslim, but I can understand the feeling why moderate believers can become more fundamentalist or aggressive about their ideology. Pushed into a corner on the climate in the western world. Long before even 9/11 and especially more and more muslims getting pushed away eventhough they wanted to belong to the "modern world" and they didn't know where to go, and part of them found refuge in the hands of the wrong people.

I see it often enough with the moderates, but admittedly in most cases it would be from countries like Jordan, or Indonesia, or Malaysia, or Singapore, and believe it or not, Syria and even Iraq. Before all the recent years mess. But many Muslims feel pushed into a corner in today's world and their response is clinging to their religion even harder and more firmly and more unreasonably than before. You know very well, unfortunately many people in this world do not have the mental and intelectual fortitude to stand by their own reasoning and logic in difficult times, and they seek to be herded like a bunch of sheep. Sorry if anyone takes offense, but that's literally how I see it unfolding in front of my eyes many times.

There's a lot of Muslims out there who are in constant defensive mode, and feel any questioning of their faith is a plot or a ploy to lure them to the enemy or "devil" or something. There's also a very active campaign for many years now by groups from especially the Gulf states to preach a Wahhabi and Salafi brand of Islam that is pretty much an absolutist/extremist form of Islam, not strictly based on the majority of Suni teaching but adds even more regressive bullshit. And there's no room for interpretation, it's messed up, and a very very big problem within Islam. There is a true war of the minds going on. And I am sorry to say, the Western countries do not seem to truthfully be fighting it, because they have and still are allowing these imams to come and preach all over the west. Open their schools, preach their intolerance, hatred, bigotry, and who actively try to prevent people from developing their mind on anything which is not related to their Islam.

Even us, the born-Muslim, had to deal with radical/fundamentalist Muslims, and in most cases wasn't pretty. And I too got seriously infuriated hearing how some normal Suni majority got persecuted, killed, and many other unspeakable things because their religious believes were too progressive, too "liberal," not "real Islam," aimed at education, the pursuit of knowledge, arts, etc. Which was a thorn in the eye of the more conservative Muslims. And I agree the number seems increasing, the number of Suni Muslim, my friends even, who think any violence or persecution had to endure was because they are a crazy sect or cult. They do not speak up against it in clear terms, at all, in general. Perhaps comparable to how Mormons are viewed by mainstream Christians. But with more violence and more discrimination. Regularly directly instigated by those imams and clerics of the mosques they visit. And blindly executed by some mentally challenged extremists.