It's a bit early in the AM here to get into Lebanon's recent history, but the proximate cause of Israel's disastrous 1982 invasion as I understand it was Hizbollah lobbing rockets over the border onto farming villages. Violence begets violence, and we have the situation we have today.

But on the original point, Islam's famous toleration of violence as a tool of political expansion was characterized by and I think predicated on honorable combat, ie. by the sword. Car bombs and indiscriminate rocket barrages do not fall in this category, and that's why I consider Hizbollah terrorists. I suspect ymelup's invitation to "look more closely at Hizbollah's activities" is rhetorical, because what we'd actually detect is the smell of death.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but were not early opponents of Islam given the choice: Accept the Creed or Die? Rhetoric may have become subtler since the ninth century but violence is still fundamental. For evidence look at Algeria, Sudan, Afghanistan. IMHO, Islam loves peace, but on its own terms. When it comes to coexistence with folks who hold different views on, say, the morality of intoxicants or the role of women, never mind the nature of God, Islam considers those positions "injustices" (see above), and turns uniquely bloodthirsty.

ymelup: First, you didn't answer my clear and direct question: never mind what is written, did or did not the peoples in the path of Islam's expansion get offered the choice to convert or die? I believe they did, and your evasion of the question suggests you're not real happy about what kind of light that throws on Islam.

Second, don't patronise me. "Learn some history"? OK, let's look at Algeria, indeed. Since the French left, there have been, what,

400,000 deaths?

...and since the stolen election, perhaps another

35,000 deaths?

See, that's the thing: if I were faced with an injustice, and a possible remedy involved the death of 400,000 people, I would look very f*cking hard for another remedy. In fact, I hope I would would sooner die than carry out that remedy. If instead one is authorized by Scripture to shed blood as remedy for injustice, one loses a powerful incentive to look for less bloodthirsty alternatives.

And the killing goes on...