In “5 Myths About Terrorism” in the Washington Post (thanks to Steve), Alan B. Krueger provides a sterling example of the politically correct myopia that prevents an accurate analysis of the global jihad and Islamic supremacism. And he does so in such a clumsy way that it is remarkable that no one at the paper caught this before it was printed:
4. Terrorism is mainly perpetrated by Muslims.
Wrong. No religion has a monopoly on terrorism. Every major religious faith has had followers involved in terrorism. (Sri Lanka, for instance, has grappled for decades with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a separatist group that pioneered suicide bombing as a terrorist tactic and hopes to create a homeland for the country’s mostly Tamil minority, who are largely Hindu.) Although radical Islamic terrorists are the worry du jour because of 9/11 and Iraq, the data show pretty clearly that the predominant religion of a country is not a good predictor of whether its people will become involved in terrorism.
After all, it was not long ago that homegrown villains such as Timothy McVeigh and the so-called Unabomber were the most notorious terrorists. That makes sense; the vast majority of terrorist incidents are local, motivated by local concerns and carried out by natives. Even international terrorist events tend to be local affairs, most frequently carried out by local militants who target foreigners who happen to be in their country. (Just think of last week’s foiled plot to attack U.S. targets in Germany.) This suggests that the likelihood of attack by homegrown terrorists is far greater than the threat of another 9/11-style attack by foreigners.
Did you catch that? Terrorism isn’t “mainly perpetrated by Muslims” because “no religion has a monopoly on terrorism.” This doesn’t even establish what Krueger wants it to establish, because the fact that people of all religions have committed terrorist acts doesn’t disprove the contention that terrorism is mainly perpetrated by Muslims. If one group is responsible for something, say, 80% of the time, it is mainly responsible for it: you can’t point to the existence of the other 20% as if it were proof that the 80% group is not mainly responsible.
Also, it should be obviously absurd to everyone at this point, but of course it isn’t, to drag out poor old McVeigh, and the Unabomber to boot, and stack them up as equivalent to the plethora of armed Islamic organizations that can be found all over the planet, and the more the 9,000 terror attacks committed in the name of Islam since 9/11. But of course since the overwhelming majority of those have not been reported by Krueger’s friends with any significant mention or exploration of the Islamic texts and teachings that the perpetrators used to justify them, most Americans don’t realize that they have anything to do with Islam in the first place — while every schoolchild knows that McVeigh was a Christian (he wasn’t).
Finally, it is in no way relevant to a discussion of terrorism in general, much less Islamic jihad terrorism in particular, to assert that “every major religious faith has had followers involved in terrorism.” It’s a shame that such superficial analysis is so dominant these days. While the statement may be broadly true, it brushes by the central question: does Islamic theology and tradition contain any elements that encourage its followers to be involved in terrorism? Do other religions? This is a central consideration of my book Religion of Peace?, and it is a question media and policymakers should be asking. They don’t, of course, because CAIR and others have mau-maued them into thinking that even to ask such questions promotes “bigotry” and “intolerance,” as well as that trumped-up concept “Islamophobia.” It never occurs to them that such discussions would actually aid the moderate Muslims they profess to support, being a necessary step toward the self-criticism that would have to be an essential component of any genuine Islamic reform.