Many in the West seem to think that Islam is simply reactive. That is, the motivation to war with others simply is a reaction to actions or characteristics of non-Muslims. While reactive motivation probably is present, it is simplistic reductionism to believe militant Islam is purely reactive. Similarly, here in the mostly secular West, many disbelieve in religious motivation. The actions of militant Muslims are explained simply in terms of social and economic factors. This also is simplistic reductionism. Islam, in all its forms, is a life-and-belief system with its own inner dynamism. To ignore this inner dynamism is to misunderstand. To prove my point, this BBC interview with a Taliban leader. Here is a portion of the interview. Link from Jihadwatch.

With a black-dyed beard, 34-year-old Baitullah greeted us in a big room with several of his armed men beside him. We sat on a new colourful quilt spread on the ground.

Baitullah seemed a man with only jihad (holy war) on his mind. During the interview he quoted several verses from the Koran to defend his stance that foreign forces must be evicted from Islamic countries.

"Allah on 480 occasions in the Holy Koran extols Muslims to wage jihad. We only fulfil God's orders. Only jihad can bring peace to the world," he says.

The militant leader on several occasions in the past had openly admitted crossing over into Afghanistan to fight foreign troops.

"We will continue our struggle until foreign troops are thrown out. Then we will attack them in the US and Britain until they either accept Islam or agree to pay jazia (a tax in Islam for non-Muslims living in an Islamic state)."