I'm a lucky guy. I've been fortunate enough to have spent time in more than a dozen Islamic countries, usually for a month here or a month there, but adding up to a couple of years of flitting between Jakarta, Damascus, Tirana, Amman and Dhaka, anyway. I have been through the Golan Heights with Syrian soldiers, have been to the Hezbollah HQ and so forth as well. So though I watch the news of flag-burnings and bombs like everyone else, I also have my own experiences of being in places like Southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights to balance against what I see on my TV. My personal experience of Islam is terrific. I have found people in the Middle East in particular extremely welcoming, friendly and open. I have been invited into mosques, have spent late nights discussing religion, and even spent one day at the beach in Syria being quizzed by a family of thirty about everything from my wife's work to the workings of the EU. I have never experienced any bigotry or hostility towards Christianity, nor towards Europe. On the contrary, I have always been treated with respect and that has extended to my country and religion. I have also met extremists, who I have found terrifying. They often struck me as sour, bitter people whose hatred had nothing to do with Israel or anything else. The politics is only an excuse to justify hatred and killing - much as it is in Christian countries like Liberia, Rwanda or El Salvador. My conclusion (and this is backed by research) is that 90%+ of Muslims are our allies. They are normal people, they want jobs and good schools and Nike and Nokia and peace. They will never fire a gun in their life. But there is a small hard core who are our enemy, and who are everything people on this board say they are. The key thing to understand is that no two Muslim countries are alike. Pakistan and Syria are as different as the US and Mexico, or Sweden and Italy. Some countries are moderate by nature and history (Tunisia, Malaysia, Oman) others extremist by nature and history (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria). What I believe we need to do - and what Obama has done very well - is to court the moderates. To offer carrots. This isolates the extremists, and allows moderate Muslims (who are often reluctant to criticise their own people publicaly, much as posters here are reluctant to criticise their own party) to take control. Islam is not your enemy. Hatred is your enemy.