Ibrahim N. Abusharif has another couple of brilliant posts. The first is on how the Qur'an connects despair and disbelief; the second on the subtext of many reports on "radical Islam" which link salat and the ritual practice of Islam with violence and extremism.
Despair and Disbelief: "Despair and disbelief are soul-mates, according to the Quran: “None despairs of God’s mercy except people who disbelieve” (12:87). What’s implied here specifically is the loss of hope for God’s compassion as a quality of those who willingly or unwittingly scoff the sacred, or, as the word kufr strongly suggests, those who are ungrateful to the point of denial."
Prayer and Violence: "I noticed something in the two-hour report -- something which I had noticed before in many a documentary or report on "radical Islam" -- that the film footage accompanying the narration that speaks of OBL's radicalization process included men praying in a mosque. Now this is hardly the first time we see the Ritual Prayer of Islam linked (through image) with a scripted narrator's screed about violent teachings and extremism. We all sense it: image is a formidable conveyor of a message, especially in a time of intellectual sloth in which "image" is paramount culturally, politically, and commercially, more so than the written word, which also struggles with dilution."