Key Points:

Another deadly terrorist attack killing up to 60 people has struck a Pakistani city.

A truck laden with a tonne of explosives crashed into the front entrance of Islamabad's Marriott Hotel.

The hotel was packed with Pakistanis attending various meals to break their Ramadan fasts.

The timing of the attack - during the last 10 nights of Ramadan - could not have been more sacrilegious. Even pre-Islamic Arabs regarded the month of Ramadan as sacred, a time when tribal wars would cease.

Yet for Islamist terrorists, no time is too sacred to pursue their ends through bloodshed. Thus far this year, Pakistan has been the subject of more suicide attacks than Afghanistan or Iraq.

In the West, too many self-styled terrorism "experts" want us to forget that this latest attack is yet another reminder that the vast majority of victims of Islamist terror are themselves ordinary Muslims.

Allegedly conservative cultural warriors often claim that law enforcement and anti-terrorism agencies maintaining good relations with representatives of ethno-religious communities and preventing acts of terrorism are mutually exclusive.

The recent conclusion of Australia's largest terrorism trial in Melbourne showed the evidence of these community members proved crucial in the prosecution's case.

In fact, if a recently leaked British intelligence report is any indication, it seems Muslim extremists drawn to terrorism have as little knowledge of Islam as their non-Muslim (and too frequently anti-Muslim) cultural warrior equivalents.

British media recently detailed a leaked briefing report by MI5's behavioural science unit which contradicts many widely held assumptions on why some young people are attracted to fringe theologies and extremist violence. The report looked at several hundred people "involved in or closely associated with violent, extremist activity".

Most had secular upbringing, lacked religious literacy and engaged in irreligious behaviour including drinking and taking drugs. It said "we cannot make assumptions about involvement in terrorism based on the colour of someone's skin, their ethnic heritage or their nationality".

Sadly, broader community discussion is less nuanced, advocating a "King Herod" approach influenced by a tiny number of cultural warriors and sectarian bigots.

Such voices cast negative aspersions on some 1.3 billion Muslims that they would never cast on any other faith or cultural group. By marginalising ordinary Muslim citizens, the cultural warriors are helpful to the likes of Osama bin Laden.

Still, we mustn't live in denial. So much of today's terror happens in the name of Islam. But we must always ask the question, whose Islam?

Is it the religion of the first London bombing victim to be buried, the 20-year-old bank clerk Shahara Islam who bore the name of the religion in whose misguided service terrorists killed her and 51 other innocents?

Modern theocratic Islamist ideologues promote worshipping a political ideology, not a divine being. They occupy the theological fringe, most knowing little of 14 centuries of development in the theological, spiritual and legal sciences forming the corpus of mainstream Islam.

To claim men like bin Laden represent mainstream Islam is as ridiculous as alleging Christianity is represented by the likes of Radovan Karadzic.

As congregations, communities and nations, we must join hands to fight the cancer of terrorism. Terrorist bombs don't discriminate on the basis of race or religion.

* Irfan Yusuf is a Sydney lawyer currently writing Once Were Radicals, a book exploring how young Australian Muslims of his generation navigated into and out of political Islam.