For nearly a decade since 9/11, America’s national security establishment’s understanding of the threat of Islamic terrorism and its approach to contending with that danger flow directly from a conviction that they have nothing to do with Islam, except to the extent al Qaeda “perverts” or “hijacks” that religion.

But what if this characterization of the problem we continue to face is simply and utterly wrong? What if there actually is a direct tie between what recognized, mainstream authorities of Islam call “sharia” and the jihad (or holy war) it demands of adherents, some of which is manifested as terrifying violence? What if, in addition, jihadists engage in non-violent – and, in some ways, far more insidious – efforts to accomplish the same goal: the supremacy of sharia worldwide under a caliph?