Documenting the experiences of a typical Midwesterner struggling to read the Qur'an, understand Islamic extremism and its effects on American politics.
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Friday, September 03, 2004
Why I must read
(Crossposted on LGF Watch Watch)

Have any of you ever tried to find some unbiased information about Islam? I did and found that there is none. Everyone commenting on Islam, the Middle East or Muslim culture has an agenda or (usually fringe) point of view. I looked hard in February and March of 2004 for real information after watching a news program where a parade of talking heads went on and on about "Religion of Peace" and that al Qeada did not represent "real" Islamic beliefs or ideals. It struck me as very disingenuous of a news organization to have person after person paraded out in front of me to convince me I had no reason to think that Islam itself was a threat to my family. This thought rolled around my head for a few days and I realized that I needed to do something to resolve the feelings of being a target of media propaganda in favor of Islam.

I decided it was time to go to the source and read the Qur'an myself. I am not an expert on religion; I am not even personally religious. I am a typical Midwestern American, somewhat self absorbed and not very knowledgeable about other cultures. The events of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq forced me to think outside my "box". I needed to know what my country was facing and was I personally could expect if we were to fail. My motivation was to find out for myself if these pundits were right or wrong, if my country was acting in the cause of good or evil.

If you go all the way back and read my archives, you will find this earnest man trying to find some simple answers. He tried to be fair and posted a number of verses that showed the good and the bad, the peaceful and the violent. During this time I went to my first protest march. In Peoria, IL a group of Rachael Corrie supporters were marching on the world headquarters of Caterpillar. I honestly went down there to meet some of the pro-Israel people on LGF and to take some pictures. When I got down there, I found myself repulsed by the protesters and welcomed by the Israel supporters. The level of hate in the protesters was in direct contrast to the calm and reasoned responses of the leaders of the pro-Israel group. I had never been called such nasty names before in my life, I have never been prouder to have such enemies. This experience undoubtedly led to some bias in the blog

I was doing pretty well in the cause of being objective and fair, then something happened. Meirav and Nick Berg. This led to one of my best posts. I took a few weeks off from reading, then decided to press on to complete what I started.

Now, the election looms and Qur'an Project has temporarily descended into warblogging. Once the election is over I will return to the original topic, finish the Qur'an reading and move into more study of Muslim culture (because I find it fascinating). Your comments and suggestions are welcome and will have an impact on the direction of my guest blogging.

With the kind permission of our hosts, I will recount some of the highlights of my journey over the next few weeks. After the recap, I will begin a weekly series of observations on the Qur'an, Muslim culture, and Islamic nutcases.

(c) 2004. Qur'an Project. All Rights Reserved

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