270 million suicide bombers (UPDATED)

April 15, 2011 Update: It’s nice to be useful.

What with the recent spate of beheadings perpetrated by muslims in Iraq, this post from a few months back strikes a chord. I’ve reprinted it in its entirety.


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.

  1. I’m curious as to what the actual survey question was? It might be very telling about the numbers and depending upon the wording of the question, I would expect your numbers to be extremely conservative…even for the US. Without having seen the actual survey it’s hard to make a call. The Muslim religion as a whole is as peaceful as Christianity. The means of furthering and defending the religion differ significantly. Although, not so much in furthering when compared to some of the empirical Christian crusades.
    Islam is a little bit different story as it’s somewhat of a conglomerate of Muslim teachings and political ideology. Either way, it’s an interesting thought and I would like to see the survey if you have it on hand.

  2. Here they are:

    Sobering stuff.

  3. Thanks Puddle Pirate. I was surprised that Pakistan’s numbers weren’t higher. That said, it isn’t surprising at all that over a quarter of the Muslims found suicide bombing justifiable in defense of Islam. I think if the wording were changed from the defense of Islam to furthering the spread of Islam you would see a dramatic drop in that number.
    All in all, I would say a more accurate statement would be that the Muslim religion is generally peaceful with some deeply entrenched defensive fighting positions along with some radical factions.

  4. Maybe the folks at the Pew Center will ask that, next time ’round. As for Islam being peaceful, I offer the following links.
    Jihad Watch
    Terrorism Unveiled
    Little Green Footballs
    Dhimmi Watch
    “Islamism” defined (Christian perspective)
    World Religions Index entry on Islam (Christian perspective)

  5. If Islamics have it their way, there might not be a next time. Differentiating between Muslim and Islam can be a difficult thing and I would agree with you that the Islamic ideology can be a violent one. BTW: Thanks for all the info.

  6. Happy to be of service. Tell all your friends, and bring ’em here.
    I do try to be precise when I use terms like “Islamism”, “Islam” and “muslim” around here. I hold muslims accountable for not purging the Islamists from their ranks, but the blame for acts of terrorism lies with the Islamists and their active backers and not with those muslims who merely fail to protest or fail to act.

  7. Over at the ‘Cutter, I call those who would kill us and make our daughters wear burkas … jihadis. Monsour Ijaz does, as well, except he calls them “jihadists”.
    Agreed that the principal blame falls upon the jihadis, but … those who watch it done in their name have got to step up and speak out.
    Hey, you all better get that voter fraud under wraps up there. We are counting on Ohio.

  8. Unfortunately, here in NE Ohio we’re the geniuses who brought you Dennis Kucinich. Not many of us are Republicans, so don’t hold your breath waiting for a speedy investigation. If it ever starts, it’ll likely happen no sooner than November 3rd.

  9. This is all you need to know to evaluate CAIR’s claim that Islam is a Religion of Peace: Mohammed commanded and practiced . . .
    “‘Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them…If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them…'” (Muslim Book 019, Number 4294).

  10. Muslims, terrorists, and terror sympathizers

    To hear the politically correct Left tell it, there are no muslim terrorists, merely non-specific “extremists” who aren’t really muslims….

Comments are closed.