Arguing that the current war is not a religious war would be denying history, from the Crusades onwards, and recant the sacred texts of the monotheistic religions. Certainly, the Pope does his job and uses religion to preach peace. Moreover, there is no doubt that other interests hide behind religion: economic, geopolitical and power interests.
But can we can say that religion is alien to power struggles? It is not and it never has been, throughout history, a perverse interweaving of political struggle and religion has always existed. The clash in the Middle East between the Sunni (led by Saudi Wahhabis) and Shia (led by Iran) branches of Islam is not just about religion. It is not a coincidence that even the oil prices are used in this confrontation. But ignoring it does not help resolve the conflict.
Islamic terrorism refers to a category within Islam: jihad. Jihad has many meanings: from the effort to improve oneself to the war in the name of God, called generically the “holy war.” In the Qur’an it says: “Fight, therefore, for the cause of God” (Sura II, 244), and “those who sell the life of this world to buy the afterlife and fight in the cause of God, a grand prize will be given, whether they win or die, to those who fight for the cause of God” (Sura IV, 74).