In the last several months there has been an increased tendency for people to apportion blame for acts of terrorism to all Muslims, conflating extremism and extremist ideology with the religion of Islam. This is wrong. We should not come to hasty generalisations about an entire community of co-religionists based on the actions, ideology, or politics of the few.
Islam, like Christianity or Buddhism or Judaism, is not a monolithic faith. There are many variants. Like these other religions, some of these variants believe and preach intrepretations of the religion that differ radically from the mainstream. Daesh and their teachings are an example of this radical departure from religious orthodoxy. It is important to keep this in mind; Daesh’s ideology is not reflective of Islam as a whole, just as the Westboro Baptist Church is not reflective of Christianity, and Bodu Bala Sena is not reflective of Buddhism.
By conflating an extremist ideology such as Daesh’s with the mainstream forms of Islam, we distance ourselves from the overwilling majority of the world’s Muslims who want nothing more than to live in peace. By conflating Daesh and Islam we fall victim to Islamophobia, and in doing so, feed the extremists in our own societies who are all too happy to exploit our fears for their own political and social agendas. We have warrant to be phobic of Daesh, just as we have warrant to be phobic of violent Christian fundamentalist groups like the Christian Identity Movement. But being justifiably phobic of a tiny subset of any religion does not mean we have the justification to be phobic of an entire religion.