Two letters published in The Bellingham Herald May 23 blamed "Bush/Cheney" for radicalizing Muslims against the Western world, and expressed concern that Islam is unfairly demonized. I don't know where the authors are getting their information, but it isn't from the Koran or the Hadith, and certainly not from history. I believe Islam has been a violent, coercive religion since Muhammad began receiving his revelations in 610.
Muslims are instructed by Allah to "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day . . . nor acknowledge the religion of truth (Islam), (even) of the people of the Book (Christians and Jews), until they pay the jizya (taxes) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued." (Koran, Surah 9:29)
Surah 8 is filled with instructions to: "Strike terror (into the hearts of) the enemies of Allah . . .;" "Fight (kill) them (non-Muslims), and Allah will punish them by your hands . . .," ". . . smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. It is not ye who slew them, it was Allah."; etc., etc., etc.
The words of Muhammad and the facts of history speak for themselves.