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Within hours of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on Sept. 11, President Bush and other U.S. and western leaders were explaining that though we found ourselves in a state of war, that war was not with Islam.

Nine months later, we’re still confused about who our enemy is.

If you have any chance of winning a war, you must be able to identify the enemy.

Are we at war with Islam? Most definitely not.

But, Islam is at war with us.

In fact, Islam has been at war with the West, with Christianity, with Judaism – indeed, with the entire non-Muslim world – ever since the days of Muhammad. This struggle, more than any other, has defined history for the last 1,200 years.

Americans don’t understand this because they don’t know their history. In Muhammad’s era, Islam swept through the Arabian peninsula to conquer the Middle East. Its armies then marched on Europe, Asia and Africa. In the late 15th century, Columbus was exploring new trade routes because Islam’s armies controlled the land routes to the East. He accidentally discovered America. In the late 17th century, Islam’s armies were at the gates of Vienna.

For the next 300 years, Islam’s imperialist ambitions faded. But it is quite clearly on the rebound today.

Enriched by oil wealth, Islam is expanding in every direction – through Africa, through Asia, through Europe – and even in the United States where it is said to be the fastest-growing religion.

Can Islam defeat the West?

Certainly not in any conventional military confrontation. But that is not the goal. This is asymmetrical warfare. The beauty of this conflict from Islam’s point of view is that the West can’t even identify targets, can’t even clearly identify the enemy.

America has troops in well over 100 nations. They are stationed all over the world to provide peace and security. Yet, in truth, America can’t adequately provide security “1,000 yards from the U.S. Capitol after nightfall,” as Paul Weyrich and William S. Lind of the Free Congress Foundation write in a new paper, “Why Islam Is a Threat to America and the West.”

We are vulnerable to continued terror attacks. But these attacks are not designed to defeat us militarily. They are designed to break our will. They are designed to sow seeds of confusion in a culture that has already lost its own religious underpinnings and moral framework. They are designed, in Marxist theory, to “heighten the contradictions of capitalism” – or, as another generation of communists explained it, to “bring the war home.” That was how we lost a war to little Vietnam.

The West has little chance of prevailing in this contest without understanding who the real enemy is.

Am I saying all Muslims are the enemy? Of course not. Were the people living in communist countries during the Cold War our enemies? Not really. The evil regimes that victimized their own people as well as their neighbors were the enemies. The same is true in Islam today.

We must understand in the West today – whether we live in the U.S., Israel, the United Kingdom or elsewhere – that Islam reflects a vastly different worldview from the one that established western civilization. If we try to understand Islam as some sort of extension of monotheistic Judeo-Christian philosophy, we will fail to see the truth.

The truth is that western civilization faces perhaps its greatest test at the hands of Islam today. We don’t understand these people – and, not understanding them, we try to give them what we think they want, what we might want in a similar situation. This is how Israel has been led down the primrose path in its negotiations with the Arabs.

It’s a war. And, for Islam, the negotiating table is just another theater in that war.

Every day, around the world, if we look for them, we see disparate, seemingly unconnected reports of attacks by Muslims on non-Muslims. We see them in Israel. We see them in India. We see them in Indonesia. We see them in the Philippines. We see them in Sudan. We see them even in the U.S. and Europe.

People are dying – lots of them. In fact, more Christians are being persecuted today than ever before in the history of the world – even under the Romans. Most of those attacks come from Islam.

What we need to understand is that these attacks are connected. They are coordinated. Islam is on the march, again. The only question is whether we see it, acknowledge the reality of it and figure out an adequate response before it’s too late.

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