If the ideology of al-Qaeda attracts only one in every 100,000 Muslims to the path of anti-western violence there would be 12,000 jihadists to worry about. That is not a small number, but it constitutes only 1/1000th of one percent of all Muslims in the world (1,200,000,000). As this timely essay suggests, it would be apt for the President to continually emphasize that he understands al-Qaeda is a fractional issue rather than playing into its hands by privileging it as a spokesman for a global ideology on par with Communism in an earlier era.
Do These Two Have Anything in Common?: "It should be cause for concern to U.S. policymakers that only one major foreign statesman comes close to emulating Bush's rhetorical emphasis on the Islamic aspects of the current terrorist threat, and that is Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin has deliberately seized upon the theme of Islamic terrorism to justify his relentless war against the Chechens' aspirations for self-determination. That war has the dangerous effect of generating rising tensions with Russia's sizable Muslim population.
It certainly is not in the United States's interest, especially in the Middle East, to prompt a fusion of Muslim political resentments against America with a wider and stronger sense of Islamic religious identity. When the president talks of Iraq as 'the central front' in the war against Islamic terrorism, he links Iraqi and Arab anti-American nationalism with outraged Muslim religious feelings, thereby reinforcing the case for bin Laden's claim that the struggle is, indeed, against 'the crusaders.'"