Is Sympathy for Terrorist Acts a Muslim Monopoly?

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by Neil Godfrey

Reality check here

Question: If Muslim sympathy for terrorism is not driven by religious fanaticism, then why does support for terror seemingly exist more among Muslims?

Answer: Muslims hold no monopoly on extremist views and are, in fact, on average more likely than the American public to unequivocally condemn attacks on civilians.

A [2007] study shows that only 46% of Americans think that “bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “never justified,” while 24% believe these attacks are “often or sometimes justified.”

Contrast those figures with data taken from the same year from some of the largest Muslim countries, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iran.

Agree that “bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “never justified“:

  • Indonesia — 74%
  • Pakistan — 86%
  • Bangladesh — 81%
  • Iran (as above) — 80%

Are attacks in which civilians are targets “completely justified”?

Yes, according to

  • United States — 6%
  • Lebanon — 2%
  • Iran — 2%
  • Saudi Arabia — 4%

Just as the fact that violent crimes continue to occur throughout the U.S. cities does not indicate Americans’ silent acquiescence to them, the continued terrorist violence is not proof that Muslims tolerate it. An abundance of statistical evidence indicates the opposite. (Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think: Based on Gallup’s World Poll — the largest study of its kind, John L. Esposito & Dalia Mogahed)

Esposito and Mogahed

Source: Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think: Based on Gallup’s World Poll — the largest study of its kind, John L. Esposito & Dalia Mogahed, pp. 94-95.

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Neil Godfrey

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4 thoughts on “Is Sympathy for Terrorist Acts a Muslim Monopoly?”

  1. For not so many years ago, we had over here, the Bader-Meinhof group, the Brigada Rosso, and I do know what. Definitely inspired by the socialist internationale. No Muslims there. Then we had in Norway, Breivik, who was a right-wing terrorist. Nobody has any patent here.

    But I hope that we can all agree that whatever the reason, it is unacceptable.

    And then we have a problem: Yesterdays terrorist may end up as tomorrow’s stateman (thinking of Mao, Castro and many more. What about Che? Mandela for that matter. Arafat still stays in the grey)), which means that the definition also has to do with timing.

    Looking at the present problems in Europe, not least the extensive violence in Sweden, the killing in London, the attack on a soldier in Paris, it would be wrong to link terrorism to religion as such. It is rather a sign of frustration. Most of these people have nothing else to do, no hopes, no education. I am not so impressed when the talk about the Boston bomber’s education. Some may join a school of some kind, but what I hear around, they are often not the most impressive students.

    Authorities should look for the people behind, so as the crazy imams and their likes, and then provide an alternative for the youngsters.

    Niels Peter Lemche

  2. It seems to depend on whose ox is being gored. In the US years of propaganda from certain quarters in our government have been selling the idea of bombing this, that, or the other ‘enemy’ back to the Stone Age as they like to phrase it. Although lately atomic attacks are often referred to as turning whole nations to ‘glass’ lock, stock, and barrel. On the smaller scale US support for terrorist regimes like that of Guatemala’s genocide or El Salvador’s death squads is business as usual. There’s so much history here of support for – or at least tolerance of – terrorism that I think goes a fair distance as an explanation for such numbers. Whole regions were under the dominance of the terrorist KKK for decades, where violence and intimidation of the civilian populace was just part of the landscape.

  3. Nothing new under the sun. The other part is always a terrorist. In the old days of el-Amarna, the Hazanu’s of Palestine used to call their colleagues habiru, meaning lawless people, “terrorist” if you prefer, people who only tried to destroy the good rule of Egypt.

    Neither are bombs a new invention. We have had them in European history for centuries,. I am thinking of the bomb that almost got Napoleon, then still a first consul. He escaped but a Little girl was killed.

    But nothing pardones the killing of innocent people, whetever the ideology dictates.

    Niels Peter Lemche

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