Yes Lee, this is a difficult question. The sort of fundamentalist fanatic who commits these outrages is a deeply disturbed, troubled individual filled with hatred and rage. This rage can come from the family milieu, or from resentment of Western foreign policy which he or she perceives as hating Muslims, or even the West in general which is seen as decadent and corrupt and slave to the worst excesses of capitalism. The fundamentalist typically worships an angry, vengeful God for whom he is an agent, and whose duty and responsibility is to exact divine vengeance upon all those who disobey the dictates of this angry God. All religious fundamentalism is similar in this, and we should not underestimate the role of Jewish and Christian fundamentalism in the conflict and crisis in the Middle East. However, as Christians we are obliged to listen to Jesus’ words: ‘Love your enemy, do good to those who hate you…..this is not to say that we can in any way condone or dismiss the horrors visited upon those who are the targets of this violence and hate. But we can attempt to understand why these people behave like this; the hurt and pain that has brought them to this twisted way of being. In other words, hate the sin but love the sinner. This seems impossible doesn’t it? I suppose this is why Christianity is such an arduous path. There is no ‘clash of cultures’ here but there is a ‘clash of fundamentalisms’; you cannot make war on terror, it’s an abstract noun, and there is really no military solution to this problem. There people are criminals and what is needed is excellent intelligence and policing. Meanwhile while we prefer the path of non-violence, we have a perfect right to defend ourselves forcefully if needs be. But we must not descend into vengeful violence, nor trade hatred for hatred. WE are in for the long haul, this could be a generational struggle, but people can evolve out of this mindset and come to realise what horrors they have perpetrated. In the Qur’an, the Sura 2:256 forbids compulsion in matters of religion, and the most commonly occurring word in the Qur’an is compassion. Perhaps reading some of the great Sufi contemplative writers of Islam, Rumi leaps to mind, will provide you with a window into a completely different Islam.