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Six percent

In the comments on this post about Muslim terror attacks, Big Ben said:

You admit that you have no way of knowing what percentage of Muslims supports terrorism, and it goes without saying that there are many who do not.
Well, now we have a way. reports (via LGF) that a British newspaper has polled local Muslims about the recent terror attacks in London:
A new poll says about a quarter of British Muslims sympathise with the motives of the London bombers, if not their methods.

And the survey in London's Daily Telegraph shows one-third of British Muslims believe Western society is immoral.

The poll asked Muslims if they felt the July the 7th suicide attacks in which 56 peopled died were justified, and six per cent said they were.

71 per cent said they weren't justified at all, and 11 per cent said they weren't justified on balance.

But asked whether they had sympathy with the feelings and motives of the four British Muslim bombers, 13 per cent said they had a lot of sympathy and another 11 per cent had a little.
A link to the Telegraph's own article about the poll is here. and the results are here:
The poll was conducted on behalf of the Telegraph by public policy research firm YouGov, which claims "a track record as the UK's most accurate pollster."

Looking at only those respondents who said the attacks were "on balance justified", we have a figure of six percent. Of course, that figure is only meaningful in comparison to the percentage of British non-Muslims who think the bombings were justified, but I imagine that level would be close to zero.

Perhaps a different poll would have yielded a different result. In fact, the article says a separate poll, by the Sun, found that 91% of British Muslims "didn't feel the suicide bombings were justified by the Islamic holy book, the Koran". The Sun's article about its poll, conducted by research firm MORI, is here.

It's heartening that the vast majority, 91%, of Sun poll respondents thought the bombings were not justified by the Koran — but that still means 9% either felt they were justified, or couldn't say. That seems consistent with a 6% level of support. So, while acknowleding that it hardly represents the final word on this matter, let's take the Telegraph's 6% figure at face value for now.

However, let's also bear a few things in mind:

•   The 6% figure leaves out the 11% of survey respondents who felt the terror attacks weren't justified "on balance".

•   Some respondents who actually support the attacks may not have felt comfortable saying so to the poll takers.

•   This was a poll of British Muslims. Support for the London attacks may be much higher among Muslims in the Middle East.

•   Muslims who feel that the London terror bombings were not justified may nevertheless feel that other terror attacks, like Palestinian suicide bombings of Israeli civillians, are.

Ignoring all those factors, we're left with six percent of Muslims supporting terrorism. I'll round that down to five, just to be cautious. With one billion Muslims in the world, that level suggests that some 50 million support the London attacks. And for the reasons listed above, the actual number is most likely far greater. While I'm aware and appreciative of the fact that millions of other Muslims reject terrorism, that's still one heck of an extremist fringe we're dealing with.


Anonymous said...

GaijinBiker I read about that too. Let's remember the disscusion that took place between you, BigBen and BunkerBuster, where you were accused of wanting "apologies" from the Muslim community.

Now, there are about 300 million Americans, and every time one of us commits an act against humanity (example: Abu-Ghraib prisoner abuse), a very large percentage PUBLICLY denounces it. Not only do we denounce it, we find the people who did it, then we plaster their faces all over television, turn their names into dirt, and finally prosecute them and put them into jail.

I would think with 1 billion Muslims in the world, that at least 1 percent, or 1 million would denounce these acts of terrorism. But instead, like you said, they seem to have a collective "yawn" every time one of them does something against humanity.

On another note of concern. 1 billion Muslims in the world and not one of them can tell us where Bin-Laden is? Looks to me like most of them would like for Bin-Laden to roam free. Ok, I take that back, perhaps not most of them but even if it's 1 percent, that's a lot of Bin-Laden sympathizers. 

Posted by Chris K.

Anonymous said...

One ``element'' that all religious militants share is that they present evidence based on their claims, not claims based on evidence.

Gaijinbiker shares this mentality. He begins the discussion by claiming there is something unique to Islam that leads to militancy. Asked to substantiate, he admits that he has no evidence but does not see the lack of evidence as a reason to withdraw, or even modify, the claim. Rather, he goes in search of a factual base for a view he has acknowledged forming without the benefit of evidence.

GB then finds some facts in the form of a poll, but, alas, it shows the opposite: the vast majority of Muslims abhored the London bombings.

Yet GB doesn't withdraw or even modify his view. Rather, he argues for why the evidence isn't conclusive. Of course he is correct that the evidence is rather paltry, but at this point, it's the ONLY EVIDENCE he has presented and it argues AGAINST his claim.

What would it take for GB to withdraw or modify his view that Islam uniquely fosters militancy? That's what I'd like to know.

As for Chris K: I would ask that he do the math, again. 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

I've got to second bunkerbuster again. GB, the stats you reference prove my point that these views are not representative of the vast majority of the muslim population. You have noted that more muslims have been victims of terrorism than have been perpetrators, and yet you still expect the average muslim on the street to identify with the terrorists enough to feel responsible for their acts and denounce them.

There are evil wackos in the world who are male, or white, or heterosexual, or American, or Star Wars fans, and I feel no need to go out of my way to denounce those people just because I share one of those characteristics. The average muslim feels no connection to the terrorists, so feels no particular need to denounce them. This shouldn't be so hard to understand.

Chris K, the difference between Americans denouncing Abu Ghraib and muslims denouncing terrorism is that US soldiers are paid representatives of the US, whereas the terrorists do not represent the majority of the muslim population. There is a direct connection between US citizens and the US military. No such connection exists between the terrorists and the average muslim. 

Posted by Big Ben

Anonymous said...

Big Ben, the examples you give (white people, men, heterosexuals) aren't groups that subscribe to a common ideology or set of beliefs. (Maybe Star Wars fans do, but they haven't killed anybody yet.) This would be a good counter-argument if I had argued that "Arabs" or "people who look Middle-Eastern" need to denounce terrorism. But I didn't say that.

Muslims, unlike white people, men, or heterosexuals, do share a common belief: They believe in Islam and Allah. That's the definition of being Muslim. And if a certain subset of Muslims claims that Islam and Allah demand that they run around killing infidels, then it's only natural that the others should stand up and say, "These people do not speak for us. They are perverting all that we stand for."

And in fact, that's what we're seeing happen.  

Posted by GaijinBiker

Anonymous said...

If a certain subset of Star Wars fans started running around killing the infidel Trekkies, I would still not believe I had any responsibility to denounce them, and I would be offended at any insinuation that those people represented Star Wars fandom.

I would think that the average mulsim would be jusifiably offended to be told that they and the terrorists "subscribe to a common ideology." The ideology that justifies violence against the innocent is not something the majority of the muslim population shares, and most of them probably believe theat this is obvious enough that they feel no obligation to point it out. Those that take the trouble to do so are to be commended, but that's extra credit, not a basic requirement. 

Posted by Big Ben



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