In light of the Paris attcks again both sides have drawn up lines and are dead set on defending their world view premises.
On one side you have the hard "anti-Islam" crowd That are ready to go to war over the attacks that tell you that Islam is the greatest threat to mankind and needs to be eradicated. I'll admit, in the hours after the attacks I was wooed by the same thoughts. I'm not ashamed to admit it.
On the other side you have the "not all Muslims" team, that demand that there be more understanding and we as a liberal society should recognize that this is a patently required view. Also, I am more than able to see this point of view and the validity of the thinking.
Obviously, not all Muslims are violent extremists. Anymore so than all Christians hate all gays and are pro-life bombers. Without a doubt both views are ridiculous.
The most important thing to realize is that in the end, the peaceful majority is irrelevant.
The argument that I hear regularly in regard to the Muslims is that there are 1.5 billion (with a "b") Muslims on the planet. and the vast majority of them are not violent Jihadis. Fair and absolutely true. But, and there is always a but, even if just a small amount.. say 1-5% are in support or are actively participating in Jihad, that gives us anywhere between 15 million to 75 million. in comparison, there are around 1.4 million people wearing US military uniforms, across all branches. with may another million in reserve.
So, if we even go with the 1% number... there are ten times as many Jihadist Muslims as there are uniformed United States Military personnel. That is a terrifying statistic.
The fact that the other 99% are not, doesn't matter.
It took 19 people 2 hours to bring America to a grinding halt. 19 of them.
10 violent ISIS fighters have pushed France to close their borders and institute a city wide curfew across Paris. These are things that have not been done since the end of WW2.
So , what do we do with this? Most certainly something must be done. Those that do espouse a violent, anti west, version of Islam are without a doubt the minority. But when the vast majority of modern or even moderate Muslims do nothing to stem this, what is the west to do.
The form of theocratic Islam that is put forward by those like ISIS is barbaric, and rightfully should be denounced. But denunciation only goes so far. There is only so much that talking can achieve.
There are those of course that will liken the Christian crusades as a point of hypocrisy on the part of modern Christians. Though those same people ignore the fact that Christianity had a reformation that began to chip away at the political power of the church. This reformation broke the power of Rome and allowed for the thinkers of the early enlightenment to consider the larger questions of life that the church would not allow.
In the modern age, the Muslim world needs their own Martin Luther. Sadly, there are still enough imams that are willing to declare any that may raise their head are apostates, and in a world view of those violent minority, are loud and strong enough to ensure that capital consequences are meted out.
So, when it comes time to talk with your contemporaries, remember, not all Muslims are violent jihadists, but with such a large world wide population, a full seventh, even one percent being active jihadists is a terrifyingly large number of people. People that truly believe that violence will garner them paradise, truly render the peaceful majority irrelevant.