Can they coexist?

Muslim world must decide if it can live peacefully with the rest of the planet

A clever bumper sticker you may have seen spells out the word "Coexist" in the symbols of the world's religions.


Now would be a really, really good time for that.

It appears many in the Muslim world didn't get the memo.

With uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and elsewhere destabilizing the Mideast and threatening the entire world's way of life, the planet may be at its most dangerous tipping point since World War II: If radical Muslims gain sway over yet more governments, particularly Egypt's, the world may lurch toward World War III.

It would be the first global conflagration fought completely within the context of the nuclear age.

The months to come could tell the tale. It's time the Muslim world decides: Will it coexist?

Recent history, of course, is not promising on that point. Since the terror attacks at the 1972 Olympics, the Achille Lauro in 1985 and, of course, the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the decades have been a succession of bloody assaults in an unceasing war against the West by radical Muslims.

Their ideology has spread like a pandemic: Nonbelievers must convert or be wiped off the map, leaving a worldwide Islamic "caliphate" in the wake of the rest of the world's religions and beliefs.

Whether that naked evil will be contained may be decided in the events now unfolding.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which has toiled for decades in the shadows on several continents to radicalize their brethren, has already said it wants to end Egypt's 30-year peace agreement with Israel and prepare for war. A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told an interviewer last week, "We are against Zionism" -- essentially the right of Israel to exist.

Unsaid in that exchange, of course, is that the same ideology opposes the very existence of the United States and the West, and of all religions other than Islam.

Coexist? Tell them !

World governments must unite as never before to prevent such tyranny from spreading and taking hold of more whole peoples, most especially in Egypt.

It would help if the world's religions joined in -- and if the peace-loving majority of Muslims would lead the way.

The world's people have never needed to come together more. Now is the time to wage peace.

That our Muslim friends in Egypt want to live in freedom and out of poverty is something we can certainly understand and get behind in America. But the pressure is now on them to prove they can self-govern -- out from under the grinding thumb of coercion -- without lashing out in xenophobic bloodlust.

Can they coexist?