The Islamic world is frontpage news. In places like Iran Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon a warlike Islam is facing off the West in increasingly harsh ways. In the West itself, Muslim communities grow in number as do conversions. But what might appear as a renaissance is in fact the sign of a profound crisis within the religion founded by the prophet Muhammad. Fr Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit and Islam scholar who teaches in Beirut, offers an across-the-board analysis of what ails contemporary Islam and the ways radical and progressive Muslims try to nurse it back to health. Here, exclusive for Asia news, is the first part of a series of article on the subject.