It has become quite clear to many that we need to understand more about Islam...
This not because we need to have some doe eyed vision of religious pluralistic unity (for that in itself is basically a new separate religion unto itself).
We need a better understanding of Islam because it affects us (the us being American Christians, us). Our friends and neighbors and loved ones in the armed forces are deployed in predominantly Muslim countries in which they are often viewed as hostile crusaders. Meanwhile, Islam is rapidly growing around the world, and in our own country. Islamic proselytizing and demands for cultural accomodation abound across Europe and are in the rise in the United States.
However, a xenophobic rejection of all things Muslim is counterproductive. We must seek to understand. Understanding is not the same thing as accomodation .... it is simply seeking knowledge ... seeking to know Islam as it understands itself (and us).
Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch is taking that imperitive to understand to a deeper level. He is by no means an apologist for Islam. And yet he would not have us be kneejerk opponents. He would like us to actually read the Koran and read what Islamic commentators on the Koran have to say about it. And so, he's blogging each sura of the Koran, trying to digest the mainstream teaching. It's enlightening, to say the least....and certainly worth a look.
Understanding Islam will help our mission efforts. Understanding Islam will help us better articulate our own faith (the critiques that Islam raises against Christianity do invite answers...and we've got some pretty good ones). I hope you'll take a look at Spencer's efforts. They are quite enlightening....and then, after reading some of the Koran, spend a lot more time reading the Bible.
Soli Deo Gloria