‘Only’ 90 Million Islamic Supporters of 9/11?

We can now rest peacefully, knowing that only around 90 million Islamists “identified with the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C.” See? No problem. The “Religion of Peace” has everything under control.

The figure comes from Jerd Smith’s Rocky Mountain News write-up of the 60th Annual Conference on World Affairs in Boulder:

Now head of the non-partisan Middle East Institute, [Wendy] Chamberlin [former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan] was the first female U.S. ambassador appointed to a post in a Muslim country and she was in Pakistan on Sept. 11.

Chamberlin’s mission Monday is to give World Affairs conference-goers a bit of a primer on Muslims. …

“It is absolutely necessary that we try to reshape our relations with the Middle East and the larger Muslim world,” she says. “We need to acknowledge the Muslim world is a very diverse community. There are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world. Arab’s are only a small minority. The most populous Muslim country isn’t even in the Middle East. It’s Indonesia.”

“Too often our politicians focus on one extremely small fraction of the Muslim community, the militant jihadists. We don’t talk enough about the mainstream Muslims who are most decidedly not violent, not radical and not extremists.”

Key facts: International polls conducted worldwide indicate that 93 percent of Muslims abhorred what happened on 9/11, while only a small minority, 7 percent, identified with the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C.

“What are Muslims like?” Chamberlin asked. “They’re like most Americans. They’re family people. They practice their faith. Most are young (under 30). They want better education. They want jobs. The polls show the majority want to improve law and order and they want to promote democratic ideals in their own political systems,” she said.

“The clear majority also want legal rights for women. For millions of Muslims their religion is a religion of peace and they’re outraged at the notion that their mosques are used for violence.”

Ah, how comforting that a mere 7 percent of all Muslims approve of the slaughter of Americans.

Vincent Carroll replied:

[I]f someone told you that a suicide bomber just blew himself up along with 30 customers in a London bank lobby, it would be reasonable for you to strongly suspect that the terrorist was Muslim.

It would be reasonable, moreover, even if you readily agreed, as I do, that most Muslims are like most people everywhere and want nothing more than lives of peace.

Unfortunately, the figures are not as rosy as Chamberlin would have us believe.

In his book The End of Faith, Sam Harris reviews statistics collected by the Pew Research Center in 2002 (see pages 124-26). Here was the question:

Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies…. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?

Responses for “often” or “sometimes” justified ranged from 73 percent in Lebanon to 13 percent in Turkey. However, as Harris points out, if the responses for “rarely justified” are added to the mix, the figures for those who believe that “suicide bombing in defense of Islam” is “ever justifiable” rises to 82 percent in Lebanon and 20 percent in Turkey. The next-highest response rate is Pakistan with 38 percent.

The figures for Indonesia, which Chamberlin specifically mentions, are 27 percent (“often” or “sometimes”) and 43 percent (“often,” “sometimes,” or “rarely.”)

No matter how one slices the figures, a huge minority of Muslims worldwide — at least scores of millions of people — think it’s a good idea to slaughter innocents in the name of their religion.

One thought on “‘Only’ 90 Million Islamic Supporters of 9/11?”

  1. There is one thing that I always bring up when confronted with the “just an extremist minority” claim: the fact that human history is not an election, and in fact ideologically committed minorities direct the course of ideas and events. “Moderates” are the ones who shut up and go along, regardless of their number.

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