"Five Best" books for understanding Islam. Karen Elliot House, former WSJ publisher who, according to the WSJ, won a Pulitzer Price for reporting on the Middle East, lists her "five best" books that are "essential to understanding Islam".
The "Readers' Responses" that are linked at the foot of the post to which I link are interesting reading too. You might want to peruse them all, but here is the first one:
This selection seems to be from the "religion of peace" collection. You might also want to look at the "religion of war" collection, including, among outers "The Truth about Mohammed" by Robert Spencer, "The Legacy of Jihad" by Andrew Bostom, "Islamic Imperialism" by Efraim Karsh, "Future Jihad" by Walid Phares; or, easier, just go to Amazon and search for jihad. These might be a bit more relevant for current times.
I can't get away from the thought that every time I gas up my car, I am putting money in the pocket of Islam. To darken the gloom, I would say that is arguable that our consuming society is financing its own downfall.