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My main questions (issues?) about islam are how do we know muhammand was a prophet sent by GOD and why there are not more muslims speaking out about oppression being carried out in the name of islam (like the taliban, female "circumscision" etc.
Many muslims do speak out on these issues. Mostly in current islamic magazines etc. I think it might not seem like it because muslims assume people know that female circumcision and the what the taliban does don't have much to do with Islam and are not necessarily Islamic.
Unfortunately to the outsider, they all seem like the same thing.
About your question on how do we know Muhammad was sent by God. This is
probably the main belief that is the difference between Muslims and anyone
else and goes to the heart of the faith itself. Muslims believe he was a
prophet based on his life and teachings, the revelation of the Quran and
the message of Islam itself. You can read more on introductory stuff on
Islam on the resources and articles page.