This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on the formative period down, is that there exists a religious group of people, which, like all peoples, has moved through and been influenced by history. Central has been the critical appreciation of the attempts made in literary texts to define and legitimize an understanding of Islam in which the religion functions as a normative system, acting, in a convenient, stabilizing, and "commonsense" manner, to justify the right to rule of a certain group of people. As a religion, Islam is a phenomenon in which people believe and which has created its own sense of historical development. Muslims have clearly felt the implications of the "war on terrorism" championed by the United States and the continued involvement of American interests in the affairs of countries in the Muslim world, culminating in the invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.