Don’t you ‘just mention the positive parts of the Koran’? Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the negative/positive ratio in the Koran is 50/50. You would probably say that the 50% negative parts should be ‘interpreted’ or ‘set in context’. However, the positive parts do not need to be set in context or interpreted; do they?
Muhammad, and the people who wrote the Koran after him, were not logicians. So the negative/positive contradictions are not a surprise to me or to anyone else who does not place too much faith in the writings of prophets and other religious leaders.
How much of Islam ‘do I need to understand’ to say positive things about Islam? You yourself have said that you don’t know much about Islam. That hasn’t stopped you from saying positive things about it. Or is it only the critics who must study the Koran for twenty years, and then see an Islamic scholar, etc. before they dare say anything critical? Perhaps you are ‘twisting’ Islam into something positive, rather than negative.
As for the ‘hell and damnation parts’ of Christianity. I am not a Christian, so I do not need to defend it. However, most, if not all, of the fire and brimstone stuff is to be found in the Old Testament, which is a huge set of works written by many people. The Koran is supposed to be the word of Allah. True in every part and for all time. Many Christians reject the Old Testament – at least most of it. Incidentally, if one reads the Koran one can see how the Old Testament influenced Muhammad, especially the violence and the nastiness. I don’t think the New Testament affected him that much, if at all.
Do I need to understand ‘the entire’ ideology of Nazism to reject it? Do I need to study Mein Kampf before I can criticise it? Do I need to see a Nazi ‘scholar’? Or take communism. Do I need to plough through Das Kapital before I dare criticise Marxism? No one really understands the ‘entirety’ of anything. But why should that stop them from being positive or negative about it? Certainly most Muslims I have known know less about Islam than I do. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the Islamophiles because they obviously view Islam positively.