Islam is a faith of over one billion people worldwide, including over three million in the United States, the vast majority of whom reject the radical worldviews and tactics of Sunni groups like al Qaeda and ISIS and Shi’a groups like Hezbollah. At the same time, it is fair to say that the ideology that motivates and inspires groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS has deep roots in longstanding radical Islamist theology, as does the ideology that underpins the Iranian revolutionary state and its terrorist proxies. It is these extremist interpretations of Islam that create, for their adherents, a narrative of unrelenting hostility between Islam and the West.
Some radical Islamist groups—like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas—utilize existing Western institutions like elections to advance their ambition of making Islam the sole source of governance and political power. But even these groups do so with the aim of creating a global order defined by an extreme vision of their own faith.