Similar arguments have been made before; some of this is true, some is rubbish, much is irrelevant. The real debate about the "clash of civilizations" is about whether a determined element of radical Muslims could, like the Bolsheviks, take control of their societies and lead them into conflict with the West. The question often revolves around a disputed data point: Of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, how many are radicals? If the number is relatively small, then the fear of a clash is inflated; if the number is relatively large, then the nightmare might not be so outlandish after all.
What gives Who Speaks for Islam? its aura of credibility is that its answers are allegedly based on hard data, not taxi-driver anecdotes from a quick visit to Cairo. The book draws on a mammoth, six-year effort to poll and interview tens of thousands of Muslims in more than 35 countries with Muslim majorities or substantial minorities. The polling sample, Esposito and Mogahed claim, represents "more than 90 percent of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims." To back up the claim, the book bears the name of the gold-standard of American polling firms, Gallup.
The answer to that all-important question, the authors say, is 7 percent. That is the percentage of Muslims who told pollsters that the attacks of September 11, 2001, were "completely" justified and who said they view the United States unfavorably--the double-barreled litmus test devised by Esposito and Mogahed to determine who is radical and who isn't.
The authors don't actually call even these people "radicals," however; the term they use is "politically radicalized," which implies that someone else is responsible for turning these otherwise ordinary Muslims into bin Laden sympathizers. By contrast, Muslims who said the 9/11 attacks were "not justified" they term "moderates."
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