our current conflict is as much ideological as it is military. Walid Phares calls it a "War of Ideas," and he is certainly onto something.
Many will object that "few people actually believe in radical Islam," and we heat things along the lines of "only 10 percent of Muslims are radicals/sympathetic to the radicals," and that "only a miniscule number of Americans/Westerners buy into radical Islam so the danger is overblown."
But history is not made by taking a vote at every important moment. Only 1/3 of the American colonists wanted independence from Great Britain in 1776. The Jacobins were a minority of Frenchmen in 1789, and the Bolsheviks a minority of Russians in 1917. The quota on imported sugar in America today is not there because it has the broad support of Americans but because of the political influence of a small minority of sugar growers in Louisiana. Less than half of Americans even vote in most elections, and the more local the election is the fewer people vote. History and outcomes are made by determined and well-organized minorities.
So it is with radical Islam. It matters not a whit that most Muslims are not radicals. If the average Muslim moderates are not willing to stand up and demand that Muslim Brotherhood influence be purged from Muslim organizations, then the radicals win, no matter how few their numbers. Consider the fate of Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist who organized the "Everybody Draw Mohammed" day in 2010 as a protest against censorship. After threats she canceled the contest and apologized. No matter, the threats continued until she has changed her name and gone into hiding on the advice of the FBI. There was and is no support from Muslim groups, or hardly anyone outside of a few conservatives, for that matter, for the concept of free speech.
The danger is rather a sort of "creeping sharia" whereby we suffer the death of a thousand cuts rather than the one by the guillotine. Muslim radicals aim to deceive us as to their true intention, which is to spread their sharia(or "shariah") into the West, replacing our values with their own. In short, their objective is to take us over peacefully over a long period of time, not militarily all at once.