I'm loath to wade into this controversial topic but though I agree with some of =b='s sentiments I feel compelled to object to a few inflammatory, almost bigoted rhetorical flourishes. Do people really believe Islam or "Islamofascism" is the prime motivator of terrorist action?
1) ...unending catalog of sociopathic acts of terror committed in the name of Islam are...
I do not propose to argue from moral arithmetic but let's just note here that in any reasonable measure of "sociopathic acts of terror", those commited by Western powers dwarf those "committed in the name of Islam". Al-Qaeda may envy the US ability to "shock and awe" but does not have at its disposal, for example, B-52 bombers to drop "surgically targeted" fuel-air bombs or cluster munitions. It also lacks the ability to enforce sanctions which push child mortality to unprecedented heights. The difference is that the West claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of force and those who oppose power or resist occupation are definitionally terrorists.
Acts of terror by Islamists against civilians are, I absolutely agree, horrific and deplorable. They are not a legitimate response to injustice. They are however, almost always a response. They are not, I would argue - with the possible exception of sectarian violence between Muslims - primary actions motivated by religion, racism or fascism.
2) Islam's fundamental discomfort with non-Muslims is inherently racist and the discrimination against non-Muslims has been a historical feature of every society dominated by Islam.... every Islamic state throughout the course of history has been one of grotesque inequality, brutal repression and almost unimaginably barbaric despotism.
Let me be entirely unambiguous : I deplore and condemn Osama bin Laden and his actions. This is no reason however, to mischaracterise his position and the position of other militant Islamists. If we are to overcome terrorism, we must seek out its true root and branch, not invent them on the basis of our own perceived moral superiority.
The "discomfort" of the Islamists - note, not Islam per se - is more to do with the fear of attack, theft, occupation and territorial dispossession than the race or religion of those doing these things. If someone broke into your house, killed your cat, stole everything and set the place on fire, you wouldn't hate them because of the colour of their hair or what they had for breakfast or their opinion on the Manichean heresy. At least, if you did, it would not be foremost in your mind. Saying that Islamists commit acts of terror because their religion is inherently racist is as bizarre as George W. Bush's assertion that they act because they hate freedom.
To anyone who wants to understand why Osama bin Laden orchestrates acts of terror, I'd suggest a reasonable place to start would be his own statements and justifications, in which religious rhetoric is secondary. Take this statement for example:
"I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom. If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example - Sweden?" 1
Bin Laden goes on to add that one of his prime motivators was the 1982 invasion of Lebanon2. This in no way justifies bin Laden's attacks on civilians. It does tell us what his self-proclaimed justification was - and it was not "I hate infidels and want to found an Islamic state." Of course, saying that terrorists hate freedom or are inherently racist or fascist is simpler, easier and less "repugnant" than a discussion of US foreign policy. In fact, why not extend these sentiments to an entire religion and spare ourselves the burden of self-reflection?
As for the statement that all Islamic history is barbarism, despotism and repression, well. I'm not a Muslim or an Historian and I don't think this is the place for an essay on the glories of Islamic civilisation. I am aware however, that there were some. After all, those craters on the Moon weren't named after famous Muslim terrorists. The spirit of freedom of religious conscience, exchange of ideas and scientific enquiry at periods in Islamic Spain for instance, contributed directly to the Italian Renaissance.
2. Noam Chomsky has written exhaustively on this invasion in his book, "The Fateful Triangle".