orthodox Muslims is only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the surface is a political movement working to gain incremental concessions for Muslims. We'll explore the purpose of these concessions in a moment.
But first you should know I'm not talking about your neighbor. Most Muslims are not actively involved in jihad. But enough are participating to merit a closer look.
We have no need to try to guess the purposes of the really devout Muslims — they state their goals openly and fervently, and they have one primary goal. It's a goal Allah gave to all Muslims: The establishment of the law of Allah throughout the world.
Islam makes the attainment of this political goal a religious duty.
Allah said (through Mohammad, and written in the Quran) he does not want his followers sitting around meditating or spending their lives in a monastery. Allah expects good Muslims to demonstrate their devotion and faith by working toward a time when the whole world comes under the rule of divine law.
There is no more important goal in Islam, and everyone has a part to play. Please do not take my word for it, even though I have dedicated many years to learning about it with an open mind. Read the Quran for yourself.
Many devout Muslims are not in a position to participate in a violent jihad, and many devout Muslims consider violence at this point to be tactically foolish against much stronger countries. But the Quran says every Muslim must do what they can. For example, Muslim women can give birth to as many healthy children as possible (helping to gain a numerical superiority) and raise them to be devout Muslims; the imams can keep their listeners motivated and donating money to the mosque to fund outreach programs; wealthy Muslims can support jihad financially; Muslim lawyers can sue people who criticize Islam, hackers can shut down web sites that try to educate non-Muslims about Islamic teachings, and Muslims with charisma can help get people to convert to the faith.
There is no better way to show Allah your devotion than jihad, according to the Quran. As far as Allah is concerned, actions speak louder than words. It doesn't matter how you feel. It doesn't matter if you'd rather just live a good life. Allah expects you to fight for Islam wherever you are and even if you don't feel like it, and to fight in whatever way you can. We should consider ourselves lucky that so many Muslims try to ignore these teachings, even though it says in the Quran the consequences of ignoring them are dire.
When the devout, Quran-following Muslims do not have the political power to impose their will, they are charged with the task of gaining that power. In democratic countries, the task then becomes to exert a constant pressure to gain concessions to Islam. Each concession moves the society a little closer to following Sharia law.
Each concession may seem small, but they are adding up. Meanwhile, the Muslim population is growing in democratic countries.