Extremists pose real challenge

In a world where religious fanatics openly preach a violent, intolerant credo, one in which western leaders are either too timid or ignorant to offer an effective rebuttal, there can be no lasting peace, social harmony or security.

When al-Qaida attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people in the worst terrorist attack in history, Islamists effectively declared war on America, the only international actor capable of preventing radical Islam from advancing around the globe.

Terrorism is a form of asymmetrical warfare, employed by a weak opponent against a stronger power. The unceasing barrage of terrorist attacks in Europe, coupled with a smaller number of attacks and foiled jihadist plots in North American, lead reasonable observers to an inevitable and troubling conclusion.

The West and the adherents of Islamism, a religiously motivated ideology that seeks to replace all forms of government with rule by Islamic law, are at war with one another.