One of the most popular tactics among Islamic apologists who try to portray Islam as just one religion like any other and explain away crimes motivated by Islamic ideology is painting Muslims as victims, responding to hostile conditions like a cornered animal (let's call it Cornered Animal Syndrome) would. As such, Islamic crimes are attributed to a whole host of factors (poverty, foreign occupation, past colonialism, lack of education, political authoritarianism, etc). What all these lines of apologetics have in common is that they all regard Islam as coincidental to the culprits actions, even if the culprits have all directly (or sometimes indirectly, such claiming to seek justice for victims they have absolutely no ties other than a shared faith) named Islam as their motive. I have written about such "dismissers" (as I like to call them) often in the past, for example, here:
Robert Pape, author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, found that almost without exception, suicide bombers are members of communities that feel humiliated by an occupying force. In fact, of all suicide bombing campaigns, 95 percent were carried out with the objective of driving out an occupying power. This was true in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Chechnya, Kashmir, as well as Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Another very ugly example of this attitude was displayed by the despicable Glenn Greenwald, who cannot even call a Muslim assailant a terrorist without using quotation marks. (Never mind that the conditions I'm calling Cornered Animal Syndrome do not affect Muslims exclusively by any stretch of imagination.)
But reality tells us a very different story.
I have often written about increasing Islamic radicalization, specifically in non-Arabic speaking Muslim majority nations (such as Pakistan, Malaysia and Turkey) to which, for completeness sake, I should add Indonesia, where Islamic "love" is coming out in the form of public lashings and caning for such horrendous "crimes" as homosexuality, gambling, and extramarital sex. According to dismissers such as Greenwald, Reza Aslan, CJ Werleman, Bobby Ghosh, Foreign Policy Research Institute and others, there isn't a single one of these countries where the motivator for radicalism is a violent interpretation of Islam, but rather one or another form of the Cornered Animal Syndrome. Except that an average American considers him/herself a lot more "cornered" that a national of any of the named countries.
According to a recent survey by Pew Global, the subjective sense of well being is growing the fastest among "emerging economies", with the some of the highest rates of rising optimism since 2007 among the nations I just named. Indonesia actually tops the list at 33%. A failed and disintegrating Pakistan has seen a staggering growth of 22%. Malaysia's growth in optimism has been 20%, and Turkey's 13%. All the while, all of these "moderate" countries have grown more conservative, and implemented one stripe or another of Islamism in government. By contrast, optimism in the US has stayed pretty unchanged.
So the next time someone tries to tell you Islam is coincidental to Islamic violence, the answer should be clear: "You might say that, but Muslims themselves don't think so".