I keep hearing that we should not concern ourselves with the radical islamists. They're no real threat to us, we're told. It's only a small minority who harbor violent intent, they say. Most Muslims are friendly and peaceful.
I appreciate that sentiment. I like friendly and peaceful. In fact, as I recall, there were plenty of peaceful and friendly Muslims in my circle of friends at college, and some of them are still peaceful and friends (not to make it sound like the old "some of my best friends are"… line, but some of my best friends really are).
And, yet. Yet.
When our great country stood up for its rights against the crown, more than two centuries ago, most people in England actually supported the cause of representation, for colonists, in Parliament. The majority initially liked us, supported us. It was only "a small minority," initially, who wanted to step on us as though we were ant spoiling their picnic. But that majority had money, guns, and political clout. It took us the better part of a decade to put that minority out of our way, and they still came back to burn our president's mansion 29 short years later.
In later years, a minority of Europeans involved us in a series of wars, a minority of East Asians stood against us in a pair of land wars (neither of which did we resolve to anyone's satisfaction), a small minority of Iranians managed to bring the Carter administration to its knees, remaining an existential threat to Westerners to this day, and oppressing women and believers of other faiths in their own country at the same time.
It was only a handful of men and a truck filled with fertilizer who killed innocents in Oklahoma City just over two decades ago. It was only a scant handful of men who killed nearly three thousand innocents, just eleven years ago this past week. In either case, a scant handful doesn't even measure up to "a small minority." So, I think we can safely say, "a small minority" just might have the potential to do real harm. And, when that small minority does harm, and the greater majority does not stand up and say "this is wrong," that's when we have a problem.
There is no Western war against Islam. By and large, if you leave us alone, we leave you alone. But if somebody in your circle of friends decides he's offended by something some complete stranger says about him or his religion, then comes along and rapes and murders one of our circle of friends, we kind of take offense at his offense.
Now, somewhere near the top of our government, we have people who think they're leading us, and they think they're right in telling you what you want to hear. They'll tell you that you have a right to be offended by some poor-quality bit of film that nobody has seen. They may even tell you that they think the person who made the film should be punished for hurting your feelings. But, while they may have positions of authority, they do not tell the rest of us how to think or feel, and, if it becomes apparent that they are taking your feelings into account before our own nation's needs, and before our nation's Constitution, they will not be in positions of power for very long.
You see, there are people who believe that your small minority are the majority, and they would punish you all for their actions. They, too, are a small minority of our population. But, if you are unwilling, or unable, to clean your own house, our minority will grow much larger and much angrier, cast a few votes, and then "a small minority" – our army, navy, air force, and marines – will be happy to do their duty and defend their country, its citizens, and our interests/allies, wherever they may be on this globe.
You should never discount the amount of damage a small minority can do.