Excerpts from “Mosques & Churches” (or “Why They Might Not Like Us” – my interpretation):
There are five “pillars of Islam.” First, a Muslim is required to make a brief declaration of the unity of God. The other four emphasize social equality and community: All should pray five times a day; this is a communal act that is done, not just thought or said. Zakat almsgiving should ensure fair distribution of wealth in the community. Many Muslims see western values of competition and self-interest as being a direct threat to the kind of society to which they aspire. The Ramadan fast is a vivid reminder of privations suffered by the poor. For the fifth pillar, al-hajj, pilgrims wear a uniform white garment that allows no difference of rank or standing. With its care for the community, Islam appeals to the poor and is the fastest growing religion in the world. The Muslim is a social being in the body of Islam, the ummah, that transcends nationality. When a Muslim nation is ravaged, the hurt and shame is felt universally and by each individually.
… “If they let you be, and do not make war on you, and offer you peace, God does not allow you to harm them.” War is only permissible in self defense and is always evil.
–From The Little Earth Book by James Bruges
–Additional Info on Women in Islam