Perhaps I'll go into more detail in a later post, but at times I'm struck by the similarities in tone between orthodox Islam and Orthodox/Catholic Christianity (as opposed to Protestantism and other minority Christian movements). I have a theory. Suppose we view religions as things which may have a divine origin, but are still shaped by historical situations and also contain bits of human wisdom. Then it makes sense that those faiths which have been the "official" religion of entire civilizations and empires for a very long time will have acquired a certain sober maturity. Such faiths will have produced hundreds of great mystics, poets, philosophers, legal scholars and artists; great tyrants and great rebels. They will have spanned across various nationalities and cultures. They will have experienced periods of great prosperity and wealth and also periods of war and disorder. They will have had to find ways to inspire the greatest of saints but still speak to the greatest of sinners.
I mention all of this in this particular context because it helps make a point about the "deep" Muslim attitude towards terrorism. Orthodox traditional Islam, the Islam followed by most Muslims for most of Islamic history has been the dominant religion of an entire civilization. It has been a religion which has built into it, a certain amount of respect for authority and stability. And so its nature is to build up social institutions rather than tear them down. More later.