The debate over the nature of Islam continues to fester not only between liberals and conservatives, left and right, but among conservatives as well. It is one of those issues that remain divisively controversial, even among those who share a common or similar political orientation. There is no ultimate consensus on the horizon and there will probably not be a decisive verdict until civil disruption and social mayhem can no longer be ignored or dissembled—what we might designate, taking a page from Janet Napolitano, as "Muslim-caused disasters." But for the time being, the discussion seems clearly to favor those who maintain that Islam is a "religion of peace" that has been "hijacked" by the extremists within its ranks, a conclusion promoted by politicians seeking votes, professional multiculturalists, brain-dead Hollywood celebrities and producers, and a vast and corrupt media conglomerate that lost its bearings back in the diversity-crazed Sixties when minority hiring and a concomitant "fractious ethnic politics", as William McGowan put it in a 1993 article for City Journal, became the rules of the game.
Sometimes the pro-Islam argument is rendered a little more intricate to introduce distinctions that lend a scholarly patina to the dispute. Clare Lopez, Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy, writes of a member of the anti-Muslim Brotherhood community who nevertheless regards "Islamist ideology as a mere 'Sharia Hypothesis'…that has no demonstrable connection to classical Islam" (personal communication). For this conflicted individual, as for so many of his likeminded counterparts, Islamic doctrine does not form the basis for Islamic terrorism. Frequently we are told that Islam does not constitute a solid bloc of theological conviction and practice but is many different things, a protean religion subject to myriad interpretations. The split between Shia and Sunni would seem to reinforce this notion, except for the lamentable fact that both wings of the faith are united in their desire to restore the Caliphate and to subdue the West to its hegemony.