A new study propoganda from 1998 to 2011 shows that Muslim extremists are more concerned with defending against foreign intrusion than striving towards worldwide offensive Jihad. The study’s researches, Jeffry Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow and Steven Corman, assert that:
… continued claims to the contrary, by both official and unofficial sources, only play into a ‘clash of civilizations’ narrative that benefits the extremist cause. These claims also undermine the credibility of Western voices, because the audience knows that extremist arguments are really about victimage and deliverance.
It’s long been said by / known to, just about every Muslim, that these ‘extremists’ have a religious argument that’s so skewed, warped, myopic and inconsistently derived, that it’s almost meaningless; no matter how many scholars and muslims speak out against terrorism and extremism, it won’t change their mindset (the extremists I mean; although incidentally, the Islamophobes too) as religion is not often their sole motivation - but a dangerous mix of politics with aspects of religion. When they cite religion, they use it as a cloak (as a means of self-justification, if anything) for their deeper grievances, which are almost always rather more political in nature; enabled by a lack of a holistic understanding of their own faith. They do pose a threat - but primarily to the Muslim world, not the West; from the same report -
Abandon claims that Islamist extremists seek world domination …
More objective analysts regard these claims as alarmist. Robert Pape is blunt:The idea that Islamic fundamentalism is on the verge of world domination and poses a realistic threat to impose Islamic law in the United States and Europe is pure fantasy. Some radicals may harbor such delusions. Some fearmongers may use such delusions to whip up hysteria. But they are delusions nonetheless (pp. 244-245).
Michael Scheuer concurs with Pape’s assessment, arguing that calls for world domination are merely pro forma, and the extremists’ true objective is the Middle East.
The small fringe do pose a problem, that does need to be solved, but by the Muslims of the countries themselves (intervention and ‘war on terror’/clash of civilisations rhetoric, in regards to religious extremism, only emboldens the spread of extremism itself). On a wider scale, the overall importance that ‘Islamic extremism’ is given, over all other terror, is disproportionate and misrepresentative.
As this separate study suggests:
… the main causes of political violence are not religious fundamentalism, but poverty, ethnic divisions, failing states, dysfunctional political systems and external intervention.
The clash of civilisations narrative is overly simplistic and just plain wrong on many levels, if not a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e. it’s complete and utter folly, which actually plays into the hands of those few extremists, as detailed above.