Islam is a religion of peace, as are Catholicism, Protestants, Judaism, Hinduism, et al.
Sadly, some militants in the name of Islam have committed horrific, seemingly random acts of terrorism on a global basis.
Religion has been one of the major causes of war in the history of civilization, such as Protestants against Catholics in Europe. Most modern religions though have come to peace with other religions and have adopted a policy of religious tolerance. Even a semblance of peace has been observed in Northern Ireland over the past decade.
Militant Muslims are an exception, sticking to a strict, 7th Century reading of the Quran (Koran), as exemplified by the extremism of the Taliban and Wahabis and the brutality of Al Qaeda.
The Islamist extremist attacks are international, often by organizations affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamist terror group, set off the Bali, Indonesia bombs in 2002, killing 292, mostly tourists, and then in 2007 attacked the J. W. Marriott and Ritz Carleton Hotels in Jakarta.
Abu Sayyaf has engaged in numerous kidnappings in the Philippines, but in 2004 blew up a ferry, killing 116.
The Chechen Muslim rebels have been engaged in an especially brutal war to the death with the Russians, detonating bombs on several occasions in the Moscow subway system (the most recent being on March 29, 2010), seizing a school in Belsan on September 1, 2044 (334 hostages were killed, including 186 children before it ended), and a Moscow theatre in 2002 ((another 129 hostages died).
The March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings resulted in 191 killed and over 1,800 injured with ten explosions on four commuter trains during rush hour.
A little over a year later on July 7, 2005 bombs detonated on three trains and one bus in London. The four terrorists and 52 innocent victims died, and another 700 were injured. A second, failed attempt occurred two weeks later on July 21.
Let us not forget the two intifadas, not to mention Hamas, Hezbollah, PLO, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, Fatah, and Abu Nidal.
India has faced long term terrorist attacks, initiated from Pakistan. The most notorious in recent years was the November 26, 2008 attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel and other locales in Mumbai. 170 people died in these attacks.
Canada yesterday broke up a Muslim bomb making terrorist plot, arresting three so far.
New York City has been the target of scores of plots, some especially horrific, some unsuccessful, some highly publicized, and some not well known to the general public.
1993 witnessed the first attack, a truck bomb in the underground parking garage, on the World Trade Center.
Ali Hassan Abu Kamal in 1997 shot seven people, killing one, on the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building.
New York has forestalled several attempted attacks on New York City in recent years, one of which has resulted in guilty pleas in recent weeks for conspiring to blow up the subway, bridge and tunnel systems of the City.
Let us not forget Ahmed Ressam, the Millennium Bomber, who was caught at the Canadian-U.S. border with a car bomb intended for LAX, Richard Reid, the Shoe Bomber, The Buffalo 6, the 2006 Jewish Federation of Seattle Shootings, the 2007 JFK Airport Plot, the 2007Fort Dix Attack Plot, and more recently Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day “Underwear Bomber,” Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square Bomber, and Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood Killer.
I do not associate the overwhelming majority of Muslims with the terrorists anymore that I associate most Catholics with the few Pro Life zealots who blow up or torch abortion centers and kill abortion providers.
However, when the moderates do not even speak out against the militants, then hostility to all members of the religion develops. The general public stops distinguishing between moderates and militants when the voices and bombs of the militants are the only voices heard. A religion in which fatwas are issued against writers and cartoonists, even by Grand Ayatollahs, and not denounced by moderate Muslims, is one which courts a backlash.
This backlash is growing in the western world against Islamist extremism, and to some extent, manifestations of Islamist culture, such as Muslim community centers.
Thus, Switzerland has banned minarets, and France is legislating against the Burqa. The irony is that through the 1950'S, 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's Europe would lecture, if not harangue America on our history of discrimination and racism.
The proposed “In your face” mosque and cultural center in a building impacted on 9/11 has touched a nerve, and is contributing to the backlash with the American people, not just New Yorkers.
It will not happen for next it will face the death of a thousand American lawyers.