There's a very thought provoking article from the celebrated NYT editor, journalist and author, Thomas L Friedman, that was reproduced in Gulf News print edition today. (Unfortunately, it is not available free online - not even in NYT)
It talks about the fundamental issue of Muslims attacking Muslims, which has perhaps heavily tarnished the image of Islam as a compassionate religion and repeatedly increased the distance between Muslims and Non-Muslims.
"Part of the problem in getting answers is that Islam has no hierarchy. There's no Muslim pope defining the faith. There are centres of Muslim learning, in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but their credibility with the masses is uneven because they're often seen as tools of regimes"
He feels that "...there's a huge body of disenfranchised Sunni Muslims, who are neither violent fundamentalists, nor wannabe secularists. They are the people who'd like to see a marriage between Islam and modernity. But right now there's little space in the Sunni world... for that synthesis to be discussed and defined".
When I see the progressive Arabs and non Arab Muslims here in UAE, I tend to agree with Friedman. I feel UAE, by lieu of its economic status and a model of progress, could take the first step towards initiating a debate within the Muslim community to find a common progressive message for the world.
No sensible Muslim - who has understood the teachings of Islam - would want to see violence as an precursor to solutions. Like all other communities of the world, all the Muslims also like to share, enjoy, and live life in peace, friendship and togetherness. Isn't UAE one of the best examples of this?