So now we must be clear: The United States is not at war with Muslims or Islam. We are at war, whether we like it or not, with Islamic heretics who argue that their own beliefs supersede traditional Islamic law and that traitors to Islam as they define it should be killed. Our enemies are members of a violent cult that uses the language of religion to achieve political aims. Believers in such heresies have more in common with other violent political extremists — anarchists, Stalinists, Nazis, Klansmen, Weathermen bombers and terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh — than they do with mainstream Muslims.
Jihadists are the latest bearers of an ideological virus — the idea that one can accomplish millenarian political aims by murdering innocents — that has done terrible damage to human societies. Our response should be zero tolerance for political cultists who try to achieve their goals through violence, be they Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Tamil Tigers, animal-rights activists or self-professed followers of Thoreau. No one should hesitate to call such people what they are — terrorists.