I know our friends on the political right live in perpetual fear of the dark skinned Muslims blowing them up. I’ve personally taken a lot of heat for repeatedly pointing out that overwhelmingly Muslims are not terror-supporting radicals. I was, of course, correct.
“Religion is an important part of life for the overwhelming majority of Muslims, and if it were indeed the driver for radicalisation, this would be a serious issue.”
But the study, which Gallup says surveyed a sample equivalent to 90 percent of the world’s Muslims, showed that widespread religiosity “does not translate into widespread support for terrorism,” said Mogahed, director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.
About 93 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven percent are politically radical, according to the poll, based on more than 50,000 interviews.
In majority Muslim countries, overwhelming majorities said religion was a very important part of their lives — 99 percent in Indonesia, 98 percent in Egypt, 95 percent in Pakistan.
But only seven percent of the billion Muslims surveyed — the radicals — condoned the attacks on the United States in 2001, the poll showed.
Terrorism isn’t about religion – it’s about politics.
“Some actually cited religious justifications for why they were against 9/11, going as far as to quote from the Koran — for example, the verse that says taking one innocent life is like killing all humanity,” she said.
Meanwhile, radical Muslims gave political, not religious, reasons for condoning the attacks, the poll showed.
In fact, Muslims – even radical ones – actually like us and what we stand for, for the most part.
“The radicals are better educated, have better jobs, and are more hopeful with regard to the future than mainstream Muslims,” John Esposito, who co-authored “Who Speaks for Islam”, said.
“Ironically, they believe in democracy even more than many of the mainstream moderates do, but they’re more cynical about whether they’ll ever get it,” said Esposito, a professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University in Washington.
Gallup launched the study following 9/11, after which US President George W. Bush asked in a speech, which is quoted in the book: “Why do they hate us?”
“They hate… a democratically elected government,” Bush offered as a reason.
“They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”
But the poll, which gives ordinary Muslims a voice in the global debate that they have been drawn into by 9/11, showed that most Muslims — including radicals — admire the West for its democracy, freedoms and technological prowess.
What they do not want is to have Western ways forced on them, it said.
We are a target because of our foreign policy. This is something many of us on the left have been saying for nearly 7 years now. And it’s evidence that George Bush has growing radical terrorism by way of his belligerent foreign policy, rather than successfully fighting it.
The poll has given voice to Islam’s silent majority, said Mogahed.
“A billion Muslims should be the ones that we look to, to understand what they believe, rather than a vocal minority,” she told AFP.
I fully expect the right-wing here in the States do to the same thing they always do when confronted with actual evidence that challenges their worldview – ignore it.