Those of us who believe that Islam is a "religion of peace" that desires to live in harmony with the West and is comprised mainly of "moderates" who pose no danger to our way of life are living in a fool's paradise. Despite its bloody sectarian divisions, Islam is strong, durable, belligerent and determined to impose its faith-based imperium upon an infidel world through one or another form of jihad. Violent jihad is the child of short-term thinking; stealth jihad is an expression of long-term planning. The only difference between the incendiary and the vanilla, the "extremist" and the "assimilated," is patience, for both adhere to the tenets and commands of the Koran and the Sunnah. "Moderates," whether they know it or not, keep the faith intact, maintaining its longevity and social status; their militant brethren profit from both the informal and official approval that "moderation" ensures, staking out the terrain in which the radicals are able to operate unhindered. As I've written before, moderation is the sea in which the sharks swim. (The British website Liberty GB features a sober and persuasive article, "Ten Reasons Why Moderate Muslims Are Not the Answer," which should be consulted by those who believe they are.)
A keynote speaker at the October 2013 Islamic Peace Conference in Oslo, addressing an audience of several hundred ordinary Muslim citizens, repeatedly made the point that "normal" Muslims hold to the same Koranic principles mandating abhorrent punishments as do the "extremists," concluding that this cultural and scriptural contiguity somehow proves that normal Muslims are not extremists. Go figure! What he actually succeeded in showing is that Islam is Islam and not the innocuous doppelgänger we ludicrously wish or assume it to be. It is from its very origins a conquering religion that has never ceased throughout its more than 1400 year history to pursue its constitutive and self-defining aims. Like the tide, it has advanced and receded many times over, but it is now poised to complete an inundation from which we in the West may not recover. And we have only ourselves to blame.