Islam: Beauty or Beast?

In my research for my stories about gay teens, I see rant after rant by people who are obviously stark-raving terrified of homosexuality. And when I look up from the question of sex, I see a very similar fear concerning religion and, most specifically, fear by Christians in the U.S. of Islam. Fear can often be mitigated through education. I've seen it reduce homophobia in many cases. However, in my own efforts to educate myself about Islam, I'm not learning much that would mitigate fear. (Please note: I am talking about the religion of Islam and its scripture, not about Muslims. The scripture itself is immutable, but its interpretation by individual Muslims can vary a great deal.)

Rana Elmir*, deputy director of the ACLU of Michigan, is an American Muslim tired of being expected to apologize for the actions of Islamic terrorists. In her words, “…terrorism is not mine. I will not claim it, not even through an apology.”