In the debut of Reality Check, Ben Shapiro takes on Ben Affleck and the myth that only a tiny minority of Muslims worldwide are radical.
BY RYAN MAURO:
A new study by Queen Mary University of London concludes that there is not a strong link between terrorism and poverty, lack of education or mental instability. In fact, terrorists are more likely to be highly educated and financially secure. The survey adds to the mountain of proof that violent radicals, especially Islamist ones, are motivated by an ideology that is not born out of inequality.
The study strikes at the heart of the debate about Islamist terrorism.
One camp sees the root cause as a mixture of inequality, desperation and anger over Western foreign policy. This camp usually legitimizes some of the Islamist causes while condemning their methods. Both Presidents Obama and Bush were influenced by this camp.
While President Bush said that Islamic extremists were opposed to Western freedoms, he also said in 2002, “We fight poverty because hope is an answer to terror.” In 2005, Bush said that alleviating poverty will “strike a blow against the terrorists who feed on anger and resentment.” Like his successor, he did not usually use terms like “Islamist” to identify the ideology.
Similarly, President Obama said in this year’s State of the Union address that U.S. military deployments “may ultimately feed extremism.” In 2008, he said as a candidate that the U.S. needs to convince Hamas and Hezbollah that violence “weakens their legitimate claims.” In January, Secretary of State John Kerry said“this issue of poverty, which in many cases is the root cause of terrorism…”
A great example of this mindset affecting policy is the Obama Administration’s long-delayed decision to label Boko Haram, a Nigerian affiliate of Al-Qaeda, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Heincorrectly stated the group is an example of what happens when “countries are not delivering for their people and where there sources of conflict and underlining frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with.”
The Queen Mary University study boosts the standing of the second camp. This one blames the Islamist ideology, arguing that its outlook on the world cultivates those political grievances. After all, the natural response to U.S. troops in Afghanistan (where they protect Muslims) is not to institute Sharia governance, engage in violent jihad and perpetrate human rights abuses. Those are symptoms of Islamism, not anything the West did.
Read more at Clarion Project
By Ryan Mauro
A summary of polls about the ideological makeup of the Muslim-American community shows that the majority is moderate, but there is a formidable minority influenced by Islamist doctrine. A significant number are refusing to give answers or are still figuring out where they stand on issues like terrorism and Sharia Law.
The number one question is how many Muslim-Americans support terrorism. A 2011 Pew poll found very little support for Al-Qaeda, with only 2% viewing the terrorist group very favorably, 3% somewhat favorably and 11% somewhat unfavorably. About 70% view Al-Qaeda very unfavorably, an increase of 12% since 2007.
There are 2.6 million Muslim-Americans, a number that is expected to rise to 6.2 million by 2030. This means there are 130,000 Muslim-Americans who will admit that they view Al-Qaeda favorably and that assumes there are no supporters among the 14% who did not answer the question. Plus, the survey did not poll support for Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups.
Only 1% of Muslim-Americans say violence against civilians to defend Islam is “often” justified. About 7% say it is sometimes justified and 5% say it is rarely justified. Approximately 81% say attacks on civilians are never justified. Of course, the definition of “civilian” varies. Hamas supporters, for example, argue that there is no such thing as an Israeli civilian. The survey did not poll support for attacks on soldiers.
The 2007 Pew poll found that about 49% feel mosques should stay out of politics and about the same amount feel the Koran should not be taken entirely literally. The survey concluded that Muslim immigrants are more moderate on this issue than those who were born here.
“Native-born Muslims express overwhelming support for the notion that mosques should express their views on social and political matters. By contrast, a large majority of foreign-born Muslims—many of whom are from countries where religion and politics are often closely intertwined—say that mosques should be kept out of political matters,” the report said.
Perhaps the most surprising findings were related to social issues. The Pew 2011 poll shows that 39% feel that homosexuality should be accepted by society, an increase of 12% from 2007. On the issue of multiple wives, a Wenzel Strategies poll released in October found 22% support allowing polygamy.
The findings related to Sharia Law and specific elements of Islamist doctrine were less comforting.
The Wenzel poll found that almost 40% strongly or somewhat agree that Sharia Law should be the supreme law of the country. A slight majority oppose that proposition, with 35% strongly disagreeing and 18% somewhat disagreeing. However, when presented with a more refined question about what to do if Sharia conflicts with the U.S. Constitution, 70% would follow the Constitution and only 9% would follow Sharia Law. About 21% were undecided.
There is high support for restricting freedom of speech in compliance with Sharia Law.
About 59% feel that criticism of Islam or its founder is not permitted under the First Amendment. Only 41% disagreed. Shockingly, 52% strongly or somewhat support criminal charges against those that criticize or parody Islam, while 33% oppose it. Nearly 15% strongly or somewhat support executing critics of their religion. About 70% strongly oppose it and around 11% only somewhat oppose it.
Only about 30% believe that Americans have the right to encourage Muslims to leave their faith. Around 45% disagree. Note that this question isn’t about whether people should proselytize to Muslims. It’s about whether doing so is a constitutional right.
The polls indicate that the Muslim-American community is more moderate than its counterparts overseas on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A 2011 Gallup poll found that over 80% support a two-state solution. However, the 2011 Pew poll shows only 61% believe a two-state solution that respects the rights of Palestinians is possible. About 20% feel it is impossible, matching Gallup’s result.
The Wenzel poll directly asked Muslim-Americans whether Israel has a right to exist. About 46% strongly agreed that it does and 21% somewhat agree. Only 8% strongly disagree, essentially supporting the elimination of the state of Israel. Another 8% somewhat disagree that Israel has a right to exist and 16% were unsure.
Read more at Front Page