The aspiration of restoring the Caliphate is not a minority view held by extremists and terrorists. All Muslims believe in the idea of a Caliphate or Imamate as Shia refer to it (both being synonymous terms).
On January 14th 2006, the Washington Post published an article Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not Entirely Radical by Karl Vick.
The article heading was “Restoration of Caliphate, Attacked by Bush, Resonates With Mainstream Muslims” and he quotes from many ordinary Muslims in Turkey traditionally the most secular country in the Muslim World.
“I wish there was a caliphate again, because if there was a caliphate all the Muslims would unite,” said Ertugul Orel, in a sweater and tie at the sidewalk cafe he owns outside Istanbul's vast Hagia Sophia, an iconic building to both Christians and Muslims. “There would be one voice. But I know neither the American nor the Europeans will ever allow it.”
From the next chair, gift shop owner Atacan Cinar added, “Before the end of the Ottoman Empire, there was no problem in the Islamic countries.”
“The concept of the caliphate is very much alive in the collective memory of society,” said Ali Bulac, a columnist and author of several books on Islam and Turkey. “There is absolutely nothing to keep Muslim society together at the moment.”
Furthermore, the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan published a survey in 2005 - Revisiting the Arab Street in which they interviewed numerous population samples throughout the Middle East.
Some of their conclusions clearly highlight the desire of Muslims in the Middle East to live by the Shari'a in a Caliphate.
Quoting from the survey it, "Asked whether Shari'a should be the only source of legislation, one of the sources of legislation, or not be a source of legislation, most Muslims believed it should at least be a source of legislation. Support was particularly strong in Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt, where approximately two-thirds of Muslim respondents stated that the Shari'a must be the only source of legislation; while the remaining third believed that it must be 'one of the sources of legislation'.
By comparison, in Lebanon and Syria, a majority (nearly two thirds in Lebanon and just over half in Syria) favoured the view that Shari'a must be one of the sources of legislation."
The report continued, "In contrast, neither education nor age seems to explain attitudes toward the role of the Sharia in legislation. Pooled data from Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt indicate that 58% of respondents with low education, 59% of those with moderate education, and 56% with higher education believe that Sharia must be the only source of legislation in their countries. Similarly, the pooled data found that approximately 50% of respondents in all age groups wanted to see the Sharia become the only source of legislation, another 36-40% across age groups wanted to see it as a source of legislation, and 10-13% preferred that the Sharia not become a source of legislation."