Should you paint all Muslims with a broad brush? All Muslims don’t hold pernicious beliefs. But of the more than a billion and a half Muslims in the world some do. How do we, non-believers make sense of what’s going on?
What’s the right question here?
The PC position is that Muslims are tolerant and liberal. Barack Obama promotes that position. He said, “Islam teaches Peace. Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and justice.” Yea sure, but the question that matters isn’t whether Islam itself is violent. Look a book never hurt anyone. The question is: What do its adherents believe? Because that is what they act upon.
There is plenty of violent material in the old and new testaments. But believers in those texts are not currently ramming airliners into sky scrapers. They are not blowing things up, beheading people or mutilating female genitalia. So let’s not chase that shiny object.
How large is radicalism in the Muslim world?
To answer that question we need to define our terms. We are not talking about people who are active terrorists. Radical beliefs are a lot broader than terrorists. Anyone arguing otherwise is either naïve, foolish or disingenuous. But, terrorists draw their moral financial and religious support from other radicals. Radicals are those who support the actions of terrorists too.
So how do we identify a radical?
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims on the planet. They are from 49 Muslim majority countries. All the population stats are from Pew Research as of 2011. https://www.pewforum.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2013/04/worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-full-report.pdf
Here are a subjective list of radical Islamic positions. Said differently: You might be a radical if: You support for requiring observation of Sharia law by all or Hamas or attacks on Israel. You support or justify Osama Bin Laden, honor killings of women or suicide bombings. You support legal prosecution of the cartoonist of Mohammed or saying just did not know make you.
Here’s a breakdown from some selected countries:
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country with 205 million Muslims. According to one 2009 poll it showed almost 50% support strict Sharia law not just in Indonesia but in a lot of countries and 70% believe the U.S., Israel or somebody else for 9/11. Do the math; that’s 143.5 million people who are radicalized.
Egypt has 80 million Muslims. There 65% want strict Sharia law in every Islamic country. And 70% said they had positive or mixed feelings about Osama Bin Laden. So, that’s 56 million more radicals. Pakistan has 179 million Muslims. 76% want strict Sharia law in all Islamic countries. That is another 136 million radicals.
Bangladesh, not a country you tend to think of as Muslim but, there are 149 million Muslims living there. Just over 25% said suicide bombings and targeting of civilians are sometimes justified. 83% said they want Sharia to be the official law of the country. Two thirds said honor killings of women can sometimes be justified. That’s another 123.7 million radicals.
Nigeria, 75.7 million Muslims live there. 71% favor Sharia law. That’s 53.7 million radicals. Iran has 74.8 million Muslims. 83% favor implementation of Sharia law to be the official law of the country. That’s 62.1 million more radicals. Turkey has 74.7 million Muslims. 32% said honor killings of women can sometimes be justified. That’s 23.9 million radicals in our moderate NATO ally.
Morocco 32.4 million Muslims live there. Just over three quarters support Sharia law. That’s 24.3million radicals. Iraq has 31.1 million Muslim living there. 78% said honor killings of women can sometimes be justified. That means there are 24.3 million radical Muslims.
Afghanistan has 24 million Muslims. 76% said honor killings of women can sometimes be justified. 99% want Sharia to be the law of the land. So there are 23.8 million radicals. Jordan has 6.4 million Muslims. Hamas has a 60% approval rating so 3.8 million radicals.
The Palestinian Areas America is spending hundreds of millions of dollars there. 4.3 million Muslims live there. 78% had positive or mixed feeling about Bin Laden. 89% support terror attacks on our ally Israel. 89% support Sharia law. That’s 3.83 million radical Muslims.
France, 4.7 million Muslims. 35% said suicide bombings can sometimes be justified. That’s 1.6 million radical Muslims. Great Britain has 2.8 million Muslims. 78% want the cartoonist of Mohammed legally prosecuted. We are seeing 2.2 million radical Muslims.
The U.S. has 2.6 million Muslims. 13% said violence can be justified against civilians. 19% said they were favorable toward Al Qaeda or just did not know. That’s about half a million radical Muslim in the U.S.
Doing the math
The total radical Muslim population from the countries we just listed is about 681.3 million. That’s out of a total Muslim population of about 944 million Muslims. That’s about 72% of the sample self identify as radical. Is it not reasonable to assume that in other Muslim majority countries similar proportions of Muslims will be radical also?
So those countries are places like Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, Somalia and Libya. If they are added more than 800 million Muslims are radicalized. That’s more than half the Muslims on earth which is not a minority. That’s a majority. The Myth of the tiny radical group of Muslims is just that… a myth. Unfortunately it is a myth that is getting a lot of people killed. What should our approach be when dealing with Islam?