This just came to my attention, a quote from the New York Times, dated August 19, 2007 (by Mark Lilla, but that is irrelevant, he is typical of the academic establishment in this regard.) The quote: "We in the West find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still inflame the minds of men....We..assumed that...human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that political theology had died in 16th century Europe..."
What is interesting here is the lack of knowledge of what religion could be. The obvious assumption is that Islamic extremism is religious:, religiously motivated, concerned with theology.
Actually the motivation of these people (what I am calling Islamic extremism) has nothing to do with a sane definition of religion. This battle between cultures is hormonal. Bin Laden is no more religious than, oh, Pat Robertson. These desicated ideas are merely the wallpaper over the surge to dominate. Without understanding the basis for the conflict any solutions will be equally accidental and temporary. In another's phrase: "Ignorant armies clashing by night." And history continues. Academe continues. It all fits and is appropriate. Some people with a particular intent though can profit from looking beneath the wallpaper to the actual stucture of the room.