Here's an interesting interview with one of the more fearless and bracing public thinkers out there today, Sam Harris. Money quote:
"It's not that there's not a wealth of discourse about what the Koran actually says. There is a lot of Muslim scholarship out there. The problem is that there really is no basis for what we would call a moderate and genuinely pluralistic worldview to be pulled out of Islam. You really need to do some seriously acrobatic theology to get an Islam that is compatible with 21st century civil society. This is witnessed virtually every day we open the newspaper now, the latest case being the apostate in Afghanistan who converted to Christianity. The basic message of this episode should be clear: this is a government that we came in and reformulated and propped up, and the fact that it had to have a constitution that was in conformity to Islam, opened the door to the true face of Islam, which is: apostasy is punishable by death. That is a fact that no liberal exegesis of Islam is going to change. We have to find some way to change it, of course. Islam needs a reformation. But at present, it’s true to say that the real word of God in Islam is that if you change your religion, you should die for it."