Islam is "submission" that is true. But submission to what really? Allah of course, but then what? Once you get past the Abrahamic Monotheism what comes next? Are you really going to stone children for talking back to you?
Is the proscription against showing Muhammad's face just to prevent Idolatry? Can the prophet of Allah really be insulted by a silly Danish Cartoon? If so, what a tragically small and quarrelsome prophet he is. Is the final prophet of God so easily insulted? Is Allah so fragile that he can not endure the rough-and-tumble of modern discourse?
What is with all the hostility? Daniel Pipes is a total non-entity, Salomon Rushdie is yesterdays news. If Theo Van Gogh hadn't been brutally murdered would we know about Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali? She would be a blip on the news cycle, known only for her flagrant lying to get into the Netherlands. These people are gnats on the windscreen of history, why bother with them?
The W was right about on thing 9/11 did "change everything" Before that day the Salafist extremists were not even on the radar screen of the unwashed masses. There was the USS Cole bombing and the Kenyan Embassy blast but only die-hard news geeks saw that connection. After 9/11 it was all Bin Laden all the time.
A new meme was born, it linked the excesses of the Iranian revolution, to the Taliban in Afghanistan to the Bali blasts to the Madrid Rail explosion. Muslims were no longer poor quaint benighted creatures sadly living in an irrelevant past. No, Muslims were now crazed fanatics willing to fly planes into buildings.
Thus the Muslims, or at least some leaders of the Ummah, went all out to insure us that most followers of the religion were "moderate." That is they wished to assure us that Islam wasn't about to go on yet another tear as it did under the Ottomans.
In Europe this is a concern. Both the UK and France have large amounts of Islamic citizens left over from their younger, friskier, Imperialistic days. It doesn't help that the Muslims are out-breeding the locals.
Europe has not really had to deal with large amounts of immigrants for a long time. The last time they did it was the Jews (every were) and the Moriscos (Spain.) Guess how that all worked out. Before that the immigrants were named "Vandals" "Goths" "Visigoths" "Lombards" and "Normans" not a good precedent. And let us not forget the Arabs who paid a not-so-friendly visit to Tours in the 8th Century or the Turks gay little romp in Vienna in the 16th Century.
Of course the 19th Century European Imperialist returned the favor to the Islamic lands some hundreds of thousands fold. Which leads us today. We have the Ummah now residing in the lands of their former occupiers and the former Colonialist trying to figure how to fit all those square pegs into round holes.
Tossing out the lot is not going to work. That ship has sailed. It is like the nativists here in the USA trying to claim that we can somehow deport 12 million illegal / undocumented aliens back to their country of origins. It won't happen here without resorting to a fascist police state. Now the barking-mad BNPers might not object to a fascist police state (as long as they are the police running the police state), but most Britons will not. The UK didn't fight a long bloody war against Hitler to have his spiritual heir reside at No 10.
Here in the USA there has always been a dynamic between the new immigrants and the old guard. Over the years the country has adapted and changed. It helps that Muslims are a tiny fraction of the populace. But it also helps that the bedrock principle of separation of church and state is part and parcel of the great civic understanding. Again it's the two nos: no established church, no government interference. The church is expected to keep its nose out of politics and the state keeps its nose out of theology.
The question then is can Islam finally and completely accept the concept of the "RIGHT OF CONSCIENCE?" Best put forth by Thomas Paine in "The Rights Of Man" this is the real touchstone of modern liberal political thought about religion. Paine was very clear that "right of conscience" was more than mere "toleration."
Check out Mr. Paine here : Click and here: Click
If we can agree that Humans have a right to seek the divine as they see fit, that they can have any God or no God as they see fit then we can co-exist. If we must submit to Allah, or Jesus, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster then count me out. I have the right to be a sinning, pork-eating, porn-viewing reprobate. I have the right to pray to any pagan god my wild heart desires. Will Allah consign me to the further reaches of hell, well that's my problem isn't it? It is a Muslim duty to try to show me the error of my ways, but only I can submit or not submit. While1/3 of the world may feel that Allah and Islam is best, they are only one voice in the firmament. The Bible-Beating Pentecostal thinks he has THE answer. The serene Buddhist monk thinks he owns the keys to salvation. The Taoist priest laughs at them all because only he knows the eternal way. The genius of Paine and the founders of the US republic was that they found a way for all these disparate ideologies to live together and work for the common good.