Monday, 20 June 2016

Muslim Americans Are More Likely to Reject Violence than Many Groups

 

One of the many reasons I started this blog was to challenge readers with facts, thoughts and ideas that regularly challenge comfortable worldviews, all the better to keep you and I on our intellectual toes.

Ten years ago that meant explaining to people who didn’t want to know that even if we aren’t at war with Islam, that doesn’t mean it isn’t at war with us – and has been for some decades. It meant pointing out five years ago that calling for the death of evil idea does not mean calling for the death of a person.

Today, now that many folk have belatedly realised that the core ideas of Islam really are evil, it still means acknowledging the west is at war, and identifying and naming the enemy -- while pointing out that not everyone who purports to follow Islam is themselves evil; indeed, that virtually all of them are far better morally than the prophet they claim to follow.

Case in point: the compelling evidence offered in this guest post by David Bier and Matthew La Corte – which relates to more than just Muslims in America.


Muslim Americans Are More Likely to Reject Violence than Many Groups

US Muslims are tolerant, peaceful, and integrated into American society.
Guest post by David Bier & Matthew La Corte

Donald Trump has proposed profiling Muslim Americans and shutting down mosques. He claims that Muslim “hatred is beyond comprehension.” But the truth is that Muslim Americans are not only integrating into U.S. society, but are actually more opposed to violence and more tolerant than many other Americans.

Muslim Americans Hold Mainstream Religious and Political Views

US Muslims score higher than most on Gallup’s religious tolerance index.

Muslims are similar to other religious Americans. Pew’s major survey of Muslims in 2011 found that religion was equally important to Christian and Muslim Americans. Christians and Muslims also attend religious services with about the same frequency. Only 35 percent of Muslims saw their religion as the only true faith, compared to 30 percent of Christians. Like 64 percent of U.S. Christians, a majority of Muslim Americans think different religions can lead to eternal life. Pew even found that Muslims are much less prone to scriptural literalism than Evangelicals.

Most American Muslims arrived in the United States after 1990, yet they are almost as likely as Christians to prioritise their American identity over their religious identity. As matter of fact, Muslims are much more likely than Evangelical Christians to see themselves as Americans first. More than two-thirds of Evangelicals identify as Christians first and Americans second.

The fear that Muslim Americans might be more loyal to other Muslims around the world than they are to their own country is unfounded. Gallup’s major survey of American Muslims in 2010 found that Muslim Americans were the least likely of any American religious group to strongly identify with their coreligionists abroad.

Far from being clannish, Pew found that 93 percent of Muslim Americans had close non-Muslim friends. A majority reported that most of their friends were non-Muslim. At the same time, 92 percent of U.S. Muslims don’t oppose women working outside the home (98 percent of Americans agree).

Pew also found that 62 percent of Muslims said they were “OK” with Muslims marrying non-Muslims, and another 11 percent said it depends. American Christians were not asked this exact question, but in 2014, Pew found that 77 percent of white Evangelicals would be unhappy if an immediate family member married an atheist.

Pew finds that U.S. Muslims are politically moderate (38% moderate; 27% liberal; 25% conservative). They were also swing voters in the 2000s, first going strongly for George W. Bush in 2000 before flipping to John Kerry and Democrats since 2004.

Muslim Americans Are Less Likely to Support Intolerance, Violence

US Muslims were the only religious group that opposed the targeting of civilians.

While there are no good polls on the attitude of American Muslims toward Sharia religious law,* U.S. Muslims score higher than most other believers on Gallup’s “religious tolerance” index. The index categorizes individuals as either “isolated,” “tolerant,” or “integrated,” based on their level of agreement with five statements about other faiths. Not all Americans share Muslim Americans’ openness to other faiths. In fact, recent Public Policy Polling (PPP) polls found many Republicans in Iowa, North Carolina, and New Hampshire believe Islam should be banned.

In 2010, Gallup also asked whether “targeting and killing civilians by the military” can be justified. U.S. Muslims were the only religious group that opposed such targeting. Protestants, Jews, and Catholics believed it could be justified. Muslim Americans were also the most strongly opposed of any religious group to “targeting and killing by individuals or small groups.” Catholics, Protestants, and Jews were all more than twice as likely to support civilian strikes.

Muslims moving to the US are more moderate and assimilate quickly. Internationally, Muslim views are more varied. Gallup found strong support for Sharia law in several countries, and Pew found support for violence against civilians “in defense of Islam” at high levels in several Middle Eastern countries.

This suggests that either the Muslims moving to the U.S. are from the more moderate Muslim communities abroad or that they assimilate quickly. A combination of both is likely. Islamic totalitarians, such as ISIS, consider it a form of apostasy to emigrate from a Muslim society to a secular one. Meanwhile, in America, young Muslims are pioneering more liberal forms of Islam — or abandoning the faith.

Religious Extremism Is Not a Significant Threat

Even if 5 percent of U.S. Muslims view al-Qaeda favourably, does that mean we will face a constant barrage of attacks? Actually, no. It’s possible for large numbers of people to hold dangerous views on violence without acting on them, as evidenced above.

We should not let our lives be dictated by fear of terrorism – of any kind.

But here’s more evidence: according to a YouGov poll, some 4 percent of Americans (nearly 10 million adult Americans) support attacks on abortion providers. Another 7 percent are unsure if those attacks are immoral. There have been two dozen murders or attempted murders, as well as many other attacks by anti-abortion extremists since 1993, but we understand that nearly all pro-life proponents oppose this kind of violence and those that don’t would never act on their views.

Why don’t some people understand that the same is true for Muslims? The problem is that 83 percent of Americans dismiss violence by Christians as not being committed by “real” Christians, while only 48 percent do the same for Muslims. But the unpleasant reality is that other ideologies are also subject to distortion by violent extremists. The New America Foundation, for instance, finds that various ideologies that it identifies as “right-wing” have been responsible for 18 instances of deadly attacks and 48 deaths since 9/11, compared to 9 attacks and 45 deaths caused by jihadists.

Shutting down mosques and banning Muslims will not make America any safer. Rather than treating them as enemies, America should see Muslim Americans as allies in our fight for freedom and peace.

* Frank Gaffney, the conspiracy theorist founder of the Center for Security Policy, has online “polls” from “Muslims” that are certifiably bogus, as has been explained by others.


Dave Bier is an immigration policy analyst at the Niskanen Center. He is an expert on visa reform, border security, and interior enforcement.
Matthew La Corte is a Research Associate at the Niskanen Center where he focuses on immigration policy.
This post first appeared at the Niskanen Center in December 2015, and subsequently at FEE.


NB: Please read this before commenting: Commenters are welcome and are invited to challenge the facts presented herein. Commenters who wish to ignore them however will themselves be ignored.

.

8 comments:

  1. As Martin Luther King said, we should judge people on the content on their character not the colour of their skin. While we know there are those radical islamists that have hate in their hearts, I would think that most muslims just want to get on with their lives in a peaceful way. It is the gov'ts job to protect it's citizens from internal and external threat but let people live their lives as they see fit providing they are obeying the laws of the land, one law for all. ISIS and those that follow the ideals of ISIS are not right in the head, Psychopaths with murderous intent.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Of course most American Muslims are moderate. Otherwise the US would be a giant blood-bath. Having said that, the fundamental difference between violence committed by people claiming Christain sanction and people claiming Islamic sanction, is that almost every Christian leader loudly denounces the former while the latter produces a deafening silence followed by a "don't be nasty to Muslims because of this" whine.

    Just for once, I would like to hear loud denunciation at the front end. Lots of imams saying "This is not from Islam". I don't care if they have to use some arcane arguments to get around some of Mohammed's more murderous sayings, I just want to hear them make the effort to tell us that they really are decent human beings who abhor murder.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Surely you mean challenge the claims made, as opposed to the facts presented herein. I have read it, but it isn't instantly obvious to be facts. It is a piece designed to downplay the jihad threat, especially through moral equivalence. It was obviously written prior to Orlando, but even given that they have downplayed the number of deaths at the hands of jihadis.

    Here is a list of murders on American soil that doesn't conveniently leave out 9/11:

    http://thereligionofpeace.com/attacks/american-attacks.aspx

    I have to ask what the writers are trying to achieve in equating the Jihad threat with something like the pro-life movement and very small neo-nazi movement. They conveniently ignore attacks outside the US that are occurring on a daily basis. They completely ignore the genocide of Christians across the Middle East and Africa. They completely ignore Israel's fight for survival in the face of relentless Jihad. They completely ignore the fact that people who target abortion clinics (when was the last attack?) aim only at the few taking part in the act, while every single Jihadi attacking in the US would happily perpetrate atrocities on the level of 9/11 or greater. They would actually happily wipe America off the map if they could, but we are supposed to treat that as if it is the same as a few anti-abortion nutters.

    Not only is that ludicrous, it is offensive. Dangerously so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Richard, no, it is a piece designed to highlight that most American Muslims are not going out every morning to blow up Americans. That bad as things are, most of them feel Americans first and Muslims second.
      Why does it "conveniently" leave 9/11 out of its list of murders and number of deaths? Because it doesn't have either, it has a series of polls on attitudes. (Perhaps you thought you were responding to another post you read somewhere else? Or did you just want to say 9/11?)

      And they "conveniently?" ignore attacks outside the US etc. because, guess what, it's a post about Muslim Americans who when measured in Pew polls are More Likely to Reject Violence than Many Groups.

      It's not like the point of the post is a secret, you know; it's right up there in the title -- even if it does come as a surprise to many people.

      Because what you do ignore is a very important point, which is a clue to starting to solve this problem, which might be best phrased in a question: Why, when there are around 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet, all of whom follow a barbaric book and a pissant-awful prophet, are there so comparatively few barbarities around the globe, committed by only a very, very few of that very, very large number?

      Delete
    2. Why so few? Because the silent majority don't have to do anything while the fewer zealots do it for them. Civilisations are always like that - most people will talk tough because they know they will never have to actually do the dirty work. I bet the numbers in the French resistance doubled on the day Paris was liberated in 1944. There will be lots of nominal or cultural Muslims who know stuff all about the religious teachings so don't take them or the religion seriously when away from the gaze of imams. They may play their part though by turning a blind eye to the zealots - the wanted men in Europe easily disappear. The other issue around surveys is the Muslim ability to say whatever they like with an intent to deceive because its allowed. Al Taqiyya is the term.

      Time will tell whether Pew has uncovered truth or lies but I continue to take the imams seriously when they say the Quran says this or that and the faithful should do it. Being nice and observant are not exclusive.

      3:16

      Delete
    3. "Richard, no, it is a piece designed to highlight that most American Muslims are not going out every morning to blow up Americans."

      It doesn't take any poll to see that. It is axiomatic. It is also irrelevant, because Islam advances whether the majority are violent or not. That is the issue here. Not the violence. The advance of Islam is the issue.

      "That bad as things are, most of them feel Americans first and Muslims second."

      Whatever that actually means, which the poll does not determine. It also means that 47%, a very large number of Muslims, see themselves as Muslims first. This is significant because Islam is a supremacist totalitarian religion. When a christian sees himself as Christian first, it does not have the same implication. Also, the poll says that the majority of Muslims vote democrat and prefer larger government over smaller government. That alone, even if you remove the Sharia element, is not good.

      "Why does it "conveniently" leave 9/11 out of its list of murders and number of deaths? Because it doesn't have either, it has a series of polls on attitudes. (Perhaps you thought you were responding to another post you read somewhere else? Or did you just want to say 9/11?)"

      The writers of the above article made a point of comparing the number of jihad attacks and murders to the number of right-wing attacks. When viewed honestly, there is no comparison. But they made the comparison.

      "And they "conveniently?" ignore attacks outside the US etc. because, guess what, it's a post about Muslim Americans who when measured in Pew polls are More Likely to Reject Violence than Many Groups."

      It isn't just about Muslim Americans. It is about the writers political agenda and support for open immigration for Muslims.

      "Because what you do ignore "

      I don't ignore anything. As I have pointed out many times, that the majority of Muslims are not violent Jihadists is axiomatic. The difference between your position and mine on this is that I don't consider that to be of much importance. For some reason you do.

      "is a very important point, which is a clue to starting to solve this problem, which might be best phrased in a question: Why, when there are around 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet, all of whom follow a barbaric book and a pissant-awful prophet, are there so comparatively few barbarities around the globe, committed by only a very, very few of that very, very large number?"

      Well, I dispute that there are only a few barbarities. There is an overwhelming number of barbarities and savagery, especially when you take into account the treatment of women, of honour killings, of assaults that go unreported, of so much violence and oppression due to Islam that is not strategic acts of terror. Second, when it comes to violent acts aimed at striking terror into the hearts of infidels, Islam doesn't command every muslim to go out and do that. Those who do have a special place in paradise for doing so, but the aim is not to have every muslim committing acts of terror. The aim is to use just enough terror to advance Islam. Islam is advancing, and you are helping it.

      Delete
  4. If the "facts" of this article are correct, then surely the relatively nonviolent US Muslim population is due to there being so few of them relative to the rest of the population, and they aren't concentrated in one place.

    Hence they don't have the problems Scandinavia has, not to mention how utterly fucked up every Islamic country is.

    So really the argument this article makes is that a low Muslim population is better than naïve politically correct liberal immigration policy. If you want zero Islamic extremist attacks; it's common sense to aim for the smallest Islamic population possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An article that supports your case, Anonymous, and Barry.

      http://www.raymondibrahim.com/2015/07/08/when-muslims-betray-non-muslim-friends-and-neighbors/

      Delete

1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. Off-topic commenters however will be ignored.
3. Read the post before you comment.
4. Challenge facts presented if wrong, but don't ignore them when they're not.
5. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
6. Off-topic grandstanding, trolling and spam is moderated. (Unless it's entertaining.)