I've taken Lawrence Auster to task a few times, though I've never denied that he is often a fine commentator and analyst. In this response to a reader recently, however, he nails it out of the park (if I may so mix metaphors):
You see Muslims as people who are failing to behave morally, and who should be held to account for their bad behavior, and you're concerned that I seem to be rejecting that idea and denying that Muslims are human beings with a moral dimension who must be held accountable for their acts. But when I say that we should not see Muslims as people who are behaving immorally, I'm not talking about moral responsibility or accountability, I'm talking about the mistake of thinking that Muslims can, as a group, be reformed. They can't be reformed, because they don't share our moral framework, they don't even share it enough to reject it. What they're doing is following Islam, which is a radically different moral framework from ours and has nothing to do with ours. So long as we see them as people who are behaving immorally (that is, immorally according to our moral framework), and who therefore can be persuaded to reform themselves and behave better, we are failing to see what they are and why they do the things they do. From their point of view, their behavior is not a failure to conform to our moral framework. They don't care about our moral framework, it's nothing to them. They care about Islam. In killing infidels and funding jihad and immigrating into infidel societies and deceiving the infidels who welcome them and doing all the other wicked things their religion commands them to do, they are simply being good Muslims.
I'm not saying that Muslims are automatons or animals. I am saying that they are human beings who believe in Islam, who believe Islam is the highest truth. Because they believe Islam is the highest truth, they do the things that Islam tells them to do.
I think the reason you have difficulty seeing this is that you have not yet taken in the reality that (1) Islam is indeed a religion, and speaks to men's sense of the sacred and divine, but that (2) at the same time it is a perverted and wicked religion. To understand Islam, we must keep both thoughts in our head simultaneously: that it is a religion, and that it is a religion in which the highest fulfillment, the greatest holiness, is killing non-Muslims. When we understand that Islam is a religion, though a perverted one, then we understand that Muslims are not people who are failing to follow our morality; they are people who are following their morality.
This is not to say that individual Muslims cannot be converted out of their horrible faith. But it is outside our power to convert Muslims as a whole. Yes, it could happen by a miracle. But a miracle is outside our power. Since Muslims deeply believe in their religion which commands them to make war on us, to try to change them as a group by converting them to our point of view and our morality cannot succeed and leaves us helpless before them.
So, again, this is not about moral responsibility and accountability. Of course a Muslim living in our society who commits crimes in the name of Islam must be condemned and punished according to our moral standards. Of course we should condemn Muslims for the evil they wish on us and do to us. But I'm not concerned about condemning and punishing Muslims. I'm concerned about rescuing our society from Islam. And as long as we think that we can save ourselves from their religion by holding them to the standards of our morality and converting them from their morality to ours, we are blinding ourselves to that which makes them behave as they do. As long as they are Muslims, they are our enemies, and therefore the only thing for us to do is disempower them and remove them from our society so that they will have no ability or opportunity to act against us.