International Islamofascism is a grave threat to Western Civilization. Islamofascists want to take over the world, subjugate our women, tear down our churches, and force everyone to worship Allah instead of God. We are in a World War against great evil. Yeah, yeah, whatever. I'm old, I've heard it all before.
Back in the 1950's into the 1980's it was the International Communist Conspiracy that was the grave threat to Western Civilization. They wanted to subjugate our millionaires, tear down our churches, and force everyone to worship Marx and Lenin. The Cold War is World War III and our very existence is at risk as we fight this great evil. The merry-go-round just keeps circling.
The Cold War
There was a prolonged Cold War between the two dominate powers to emerge from World War II. It was just coincidence that one was a dictatorship where the state owned the means of production while the other was a democracy that promoted private ownership. Their economic philosophies were meaningless. The Cold War would have happened if one country's economy was based on lollipops and the other on kumquat skins. It was a struggle for dominance between the only two great military powers on the planet. It was never a war of philosophies. The Cold War was used as an excuse by the United States government to attack the very freedoms we were supposed to be protecting. (See McCarthyism, the American-backed dictatorships in Iran and Chile.) Communism was never a threat. The Soviet Union, as a major military force, was a threat. The shame is how few people were able to see the difference.
Godless Commies or Allah Worshiping Ragheads
Islamic Fundamentalism is a far more accurate description than the made-up word Islamofascism. I don't deny that there are Islamic Fundamentalists who believe that all of the advancements of the past millennium are a sin and must be purged from society. That includes all of the scientific discoveries and creative liberties of the Islamic Golden Age. In that they are little different than Christian Fundamentalists who believe that the Bible is the only scientific text that should be taught in public schools. Even the bloody, kill all the infidels, mantra is echoed in the Christian Fundamentalist belief that the Book of Revelations requires the world to be baptized in blood to pave the way for the return of Jesus. Don't even get me started on the eerie similarities of Christian faith in the Second Coming of Christ and the Muslim Shi-a faith in the second coming of the Mahdi, a little tenth century plagiarism. All religious fundamentalists, Islamic and Christian, are a threat to civilization because civilization threatens their faiths.
But, They're a Threat, Yeah?
It depends upon how easily you are terrified. On a level of physical power, Islamic Fundamentalists are about on par with the Anarchist Movement of the late 19th early 20th centuries. The Anarchists exploded bombs and assassinated several Western leaders include a United States president. Both were able to disrupt society slightly, briefly. Both caused ruling governments to overreact. Both had about the same ability to reshape society to their wishes as a swarm of particularly angry mosquitoes.
You're Forgetting the Atomic Bomb
Don't try scaring me with fear of an Islamic Bomb. I lived through the Cold War. I did the "duck and cover" drills in school. I had the fatalistic fifth-grade discussions that pulling drapes and hiding under desks was a silly way to stop a ten megaton bomb. We ten year-olds knew that if there was a nuclear war we would all die or wish we had. That was facing the Soviet Union, a real threat. There has been an Islamic Bomb for decades, remember Pakistan, it is a fact we have to live, or die, with. We have to adapt to it. Lashing out in fear will only lead to our own destruction.
So, You're Saying Do Nothing?
No, I'm saying don't overreact. Overreacting, like with the Iraq War, doesn't diminish fundamentalists, it empowers them. Don't react to mosquitoes by cutting off your legs, just put on a pair of long pants. Don't destroy Western Civilization, like by trashing the Constitution, while claiming to save it. Don't abandon calm, rational thought.
Remember one of the key lessons of chess, "the threat is mightier than the execution." In chess that means that often threatening to take a pawn has a more powerful effect than actually capturing it. It means the terrorist attack that doesn't happen is more frightening than the one that does. In diplomacy it means that knowing the American military might attack is a greater deterrent that actually attacking. As the Iraq War demonstrates, what the military might accomplish is far greater than what the American military actually can accomplish.