Here's a verbatim synopsis of a project by a number of top muslim and non-muslim scholars, who were tasked with studying and exploring Qur'an again for western audience. The result is production of a DVD, watch trailer here. And please don't take their instance on Islam being peace as surrender to imperial threats, or as being America's moderate interpretators of an emasculated, marginalized religion; Muslims ought to bow before Allah only. However, i've not watched the DVD, hence can't claim conclusively.
Here's a description of this mission impossible by the producers, with the findings summarized in 1 para about the 'mysteries of islam'.
"A group of American professors is asked to probe deep into the minds of more than a billion Muslims. To find out what drives them to suicide bombings, multiple wives and religious fanaticism .
Mark Juergensmeyer: International expert on terrorism in religion and President, American Academy of Religion. Hossein Nasr, Harvard alumni, author of fifty books on Islam and science, and Professor at Washington University. Bruce Lawrence, Abrahamic Pluralist and bestselling author of From Hajj to Hip Hop. Maria Dakake, Editor Harper Collins Study Quran Encyclopedia and Professor, George Mason University. Jonathan A Brown, Omer Mozaffar, and Joseph Lumbard: all fine scholars of comparative religious traditions in prestigious universities of the United States.
The team is asked to find out if The Quran is out of step with modern times. It is directed to disregard traditional clergy, if need be.
Unaware of each other’s assignments, the panel delves deep into the fountainhead of this most enigmatic Faith: The Quran.
It uncovers shocking facts, astonishing revelations and intriguing results about Islam. The findings raise as many questions as they answer.
The panel’s no- holds- barred, hard hitting findings include:
“In Islam, sex is a good thing. Allah is not a Muslim specific God; even Arabic speaking Jews and Christians use the word Allah in their liturgies. Polygamy is a blessing. We are not God and God is not us. It is mandatory for Muslims to revere all the Prophets of Judaism and Christianity. Muslims do not worship Muhammad. Everybody is a born Muslim!” [Emphasis mine]
If you thought you knew about Islam, you better think afresh."
So if you thought you knew about islamic scholars in the west, think afresh about this small, powerful minority, which isn't restricted to these scholars of course!