Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness that should not be associated with acts of violence against the innocent.
After 9/11 and two wars, I’m skeptical of that claim, but until recently I had nothing but anecdotal evidence to lean on. This week, I went looking for facts to help me evaluate CAIR’s assertion. I originally thought that in the worst case, as many as 10% of Muslims might support suicide bombing. It turns out I’m a starry-eyed optimist. Over 270 million Muslims (that’s consistent with the over one third of all Muslims surveyed) approve of suicide bombings, if the data’s accurate.
I hope I’m overestimating, but unfortunately I think I’m right.
First, my sources. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press recently conducted two surveys of Muslim attitudes, one called “What the World Thinks in 2002” (12/4/2002) and the other called “A Year After Iraq War” (3/16/2004). Both reports listed the percentage of Muslim respondents who thought suicide bombings were acceptable. The pertinent part of the 2002 report covered Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, and Uzbekistan. The pertinent part of the 2004 report covered Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, and Jordan. I also looked through the CIA’s World Factbook to get demographic information on each country.
Next, my assumptions and biases. I’m assuming that the folks at The Pew Center and the CIA have published accurate information. I pray the Pew folks got wildly overstated results … but the pessimist in me doubts that. My bias has long been decidedly unfavorable toward Islam, and it’s been worse since 9/11. I’m an evangelical Christian conservative, a registered Republican, and a military veteran. I judge individual Muslims on their own behavior, and have known several quite nice ones. Nevertheless I consider Islam in general to be a threat to the Judeo-Christian culture and liberties that we enjoy here in America.
That said, let’s crunch the numbers. Approval rates for suicide bombing range from Uzbekistan’s 7% up to Jordan’s 86%. With 710,884,350 Muslims in these sixteen countries, an average of 38.3% approve of suicide bombings. That comes to 272,564,884 potential Muslim suicide bombers.
Anybody got a flak jacket I can borrow?
I can hear the protests already. “But that’s not a representative sample!” Alright, point taken. Perhaps the good folks at The Pew Center should ask people in more countries about their attitudes (assuming those dictatorships allow them in to begin with). Ask them about their chosen venues, not me. I just run their numbers. But fine, I’ll humor the Muslim apologists. Let’s cast a wider net right here and now.
Let’s add in twelve more places with significant Muslim populations: Afghanistan, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, the USA, and the West Bank. We have demographic information from the CIA as before, but the Pew studies didn’t cover those countries, so we don’t know how many of these Muslims think suicide bombing is acceptable. For the sake of argument I’ll be insanely generous and estimate that it’s a mere 1%. I’ll go even further; in the USA and Israel I’ll call it just 0.1%, since Muslims in these two countries are presumably enlightened and moderate. I’ll even use CAIR’s very optimistic estimate of a U.S. Muslim population of seven million, just to show I’m a nice guy. With those estimates, what shakes out for these twelve countries/territories? We have 250,738,931 Muslims … 2,436,352 of whom are in favor of suicide bombing. Israel has only 893 of its own to watch out for. How many in America, land of the 99.9% peace-loving Muslim? Seven thousand.
Better get crackin’, Team Ashcroft.
Merge my incredibly low-ball estimates with the original Pew data, and we get 275,001,236 suicide bombing fans (28.6% of the total). Keep in mind that these figures are drastically skewed toward the low end because of my concession to the “99% peace-loving” meme. Any takers on whether the Saudis, Syrians, Iranians, and Palestinians show a smidgen more than 1% approval?
So, is this The Religion of Peace™? You be the judge.