It’s important to remember that the vast majority of Muslims in the world are peaceful people, with families and jobs and lives, who have nothing to do with terrorism. A very small percentage of Muslims are extremists, and the extremists terrorize other Muslims as well as non-Muslims, because they believe anybody who doesn’t subscribe to their particular militant interpretation of Islam is an infidel.
We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with an international network of terrorist organizations, led by fanatical extremists who use a radical interpretation of Islam as their justification.
We are at war because we were attacked on our own soil, and because our enemies have declared war on us. We are not at war because the people who attacked us are a different religion than most of us are. It’s an unfortunate, unfair, and dangerous distortion that some people insist on portraying this conflict as America vs. Islam. It does a great disservice to the vast majority of Muslims in the world, who are not terrorists, and do not support terrorism, and are not at war with the United States.
It also does a great disservice to us, because it serves our enemies’ interest to convince the world that this a war between America and the religion of Islam. That’s why the Jihadist leaders keep repeating it. Over 20% of the world’s population is Muslim. If the militant Islamic leaders could convince the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world that America is at war with Islam, our enemies would outnumber us 6 to 1. It does not serve our interests to buy into, or to help propagate, this Jihadist propaganda.
I’m not trying to minimize the threat. The threat is very real. There are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. If even 1/10 of 1% of them buy into the radical ideology of the extremists, that’s close to 2 million people who would gladly give up their lives to see us destroyed. And they have attacked us on our own soil, which is not something a nation can ignore. We had no choice but to respond to their declaration of war against us. And to retreat now would be perceived as giving up, sending the message that we don’t have the strength to continue prosecuting this war, which would only embolden our enemies and invite further terrorist attacks.
We can’t give up and go home without bringing the war home with us. But we need to remember who the enemy is, and not confuse the religion with the worldwide network of terrorist organizations that twist its teachings to justify their heinous acts.