Muslims are some of history's most important benefactors. It is said that were it not for Arab and Muslim culture, in part, the European Renaissance would have been delayed for decades, if not centuries. The Arab culture gave us algebra as well as important advances in science and literature. Our world is richer because of both Arabs and Muslims.
Having said that we can proceed onto more challenging matters. First let's consider the implications of jihad presupposing that Allah (God) exists. If that is our chosen paradigm then we have several possibilities and implications regarding jihad. We are told that among moderate and progressive Muslims jihad is a noble endeavor with the betterment of humanity at issue. Jihad can be seen, then, as a positive and good force that respects not only fellow Muslims but those of other faiths or of no faith at all.
We can try to understand the meaning of jihad for some, not all, conservative Muslims. Due to the hedonism and godlessness of some aspects of western culture, some conservative Muslims feel compelled to counter the deleterious impact of western culture, as they perceive it, by any means necessary, including but not limited to, terrorism.
We must now consider the paradigm at the other end of the spectrum. Let's consider for a moment, though I do not share this belief, that there is no God or Intelligent Design Agent in control of our fragile planet and its diverse peoples. Let's imagine, if you will, simply for argument's sake that when we die we simply die. Our bodies decompose and we go to no other place or sphere or Paradise because this was the only paradise or hell we'll ever experience.
If this is the case then we have a most disturbing and alarming conclusion. Radical jihadists and their supporters are endangering, both permanently and needlessly, the only Paradise or free world humanity will ever know.
If that is the case may Allah (God) have mercy on our fragile and irreplaceable world.