By Riz Khan
One of the widest perceptions in the Western world, especially after the attacks of September 11, is that Islam's holy book, the Quran, promotes conflict, violence and bloodshed.
Muslims argue that many of the verses of the Quran – such as the one asking the Prophet Muhammad and his followers to "slay them [unbelievers] wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out" – are taken out of context.
Muslim scholars say that the scriptures have been intentionally misused by Muslims and non-Muslims alike to advance political agendas.
Critics say that the texts promote extremism, and that Islam has left a trail of blood across world history.
Recently, Philip Jenkins, one of the world's leading religion scholars, conducted a study comparing the texts of the Quran and the Bible, and found that "the Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Quran."
Riz speaks with Philip Jenkins and Shaker Elsayed, the imam of Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Centre in the US and former secretary general of the Muslim American Society.
This episode of Riz Khan aired from Wednesday, December 29, 2010.