The various complaints about Islam and Muslim society at View from the Right and elsewhere (aggressiveness, deviousness, honor killings, polygamy, female genital mutilation, political irrationality, organized punitive rape, etc., etc., etc.), to the extent they reflect realities, suggest a common explanation related to the circumstance that Islam appeared where it did and spread mostly by force of arms.
As a religion of conquest, Islam has been most successful in parts of the world that have been unable consistently to defend themselves because of political and social incoherence due to a very long history of political, social and even demographic instability. Geography has always made the Middle East, Central Asia and Northern India radically contested areas repeatedly plagued by conquerors, movements of peoples, and fluctuating despotic empires run by foreigners. As a result, in that part of the world it has been every man—or rather every small group—for itself. A radically divided form of society developed that featured intense local loyalties and enmities and lacked any civic feeling or public life. It is in that kind of society (or rather asocial state) that Islam began and has mostly existed.
Under such circumstances the things outsiders complain about in Islam and Muslim life become comprehensible. If social life is basically war then force and fraud become the two cardinal virtues. Suspicion, double-dealing, treachery, political corruption, and sporadic violence become permanent features of what passes for public life. Honor becomes everything. Women become prey who must be kept secluded and watched closely to prevent capture. And without social trust political reasonableness becomes impossible.
In many ways Islam exerts a moderating influence on such tendencies: the status of women in Islam is better than in pre-Islamic Arabia, the concept of the Ummah is a counterweight to radical divisiveness, and so on. So it’s not obvious that weakening Islam would make things better. On the other hand, the religion seems rather too well adapted to the circumstances of its origins and successes to fit a radically more civil form of society. So maybe it’s true that for a long time to come good fences between Muslims and others will make good neighbors.