by Franklin Graham
The World Trade Center, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Fort Hood, Baghdad, Benghazi, Boston, Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, Orlando and now Nice, France.
Islam gets a bad rap, some say, following terrorist attacks these days. After all, “the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people.” I, for one, am glad that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people, especially since there are 1.6 billion followers of Islam in the world.
While we do not yet know the full motives of the Tunisian-born attacker in Nice, French authorities are treating the case as yet another in a string of Jihadist-inspired terror attacks. After Thursday’s events, how much comfort should we really take in knowing that the majority (of any group) is peaceful? What does that mean for the rest of the world’s second-largest religion, and how many fall into the minority group who may have different views?
As of 2011 there were 1.8 million Muslim adults (and 2.75 million Muslims of all ages) living in the United States. The Pew Research Center reiterated in December some little-discussed, but chilling, findings about these adherents to Islam.
Pew asked Muslims in the U.S. under what circumstances “suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians is justified to defend Islam.” Thankfully, Pew reported, Muslims mostly (86%) say such behavior is “rarely or never” justified. Whew! That means about 1.6 million Muslim adults living here say they don’t approve of violence in the name of their religion. But what about the rest? What do they believe about justifiable violence?
Seven percent of Muslims in America told Pew researchers that violence against civilians is “sometimes” justified in the name of Islam, and one percent said “often.” Whoa! This means there are more than 100,000 Muslim adults living in this country who could justify a suicide bombing in the name of their religion.
That is not to say that 8% would actually strap on an explosives-packed vest, but the fact that so many find it justifiable is scary enough. And the most likely place that terrorist recruiters or internet propagandists will find American Muslims who would be willing to kill is among those Muslims who don’t see anything wrong with it.
And what are the worldwide implications of these statistics? Well, if we applied the United States’ 8% figure of those who would “sometimes” or “often” justify suicide bombings and other forms of violence in the name of Islam, there would be more than 100 million people around the world who just might condone the next terrorist attack. And that number might be low. According to Pew, 15% or more of adults in U.S.-allied Turkey, Jordan and Egypt believe suicide bombings are sometimes or often justified. A 2006 Pew poll found that, in France, 15% of Muslims believe suicide attacks are sometimes or often justified.
Keep in mind, this is not Fox News commentary — this is how Muslims are self-identifying to Pew researchers. I am writing not to comment on or debate immigration policy, gun control policy, various interpretations of the Quran; instead, I am merely commenting on the tens of thousands of Muslims in America and the more than 100 million worldwide who are not bashful about justifying suicide bombings in the name of Islam. They will tell strangers who call on the phone.
William Kilpatrick, former Boston College professor and author of Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West, writes about “the vast majority myth.” He points to “a good deal of polling to suggest that the vast majority of Muslims are just not your standard-issue vast majority,” noting that in Pakistan and Egypt, for example, the vast majority — about 82% — favor stoning for adultery, amputation for theft and death for apostates, according to Pew research.
Who would knowingly and willingly accept these odds of a peaceful existence in their own family, neighborhood, workplace or church? For example, would you feel safe accepting a job at a “mostly peaceful” company of 100 employees if that meant only eight of them believed a suicide bombing was sometimes or often justified in the name of their religion (or in the name of anything, for that matter)? Would you stay at a hotel whose employees were “mostly peaceful?” Would you trust your car to not explode randomly if a company who boasted its workers were mostly peaceful had made it? Imagine a marketing slogan: “Trust us — we’re mostly peaceful.” And who would fly an airplane full of mostly peaceful passengers?
Twenty-three-year-old Craig Wallace was protesting Britain’s planned airstrikes on Syria outside of the British Parliament last year while holding a sign that said, “I am Muslim. I am labeled a terrorist. I trust you. Do you trust me enough for a hug?” According to the Daily Mail, he was arrested following the vote for threatening to bomb Tory MP Charlotte Leslie’s house. Using the name Muhammad Mujahid Islam online, Wallace wrote on Facebook: “I’m going to smash her windows then drop a bomb on her house while she’s tucked up in bed.” Wallace’s sign would have suggested he belonged in the “mostly peaceful” category.
Last year the Islamic State group released an audio message by its leader and runner-up for Time magazine’s 2015 Person of the Year Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, speaking about his religion and peace. “Islam was never a religion of peace,” the 44-year-old said, “Islam is the religion of fighting. No one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State. It is the war of all Muslims, but the Islamic State is spearheading it. It is the war of Muslims against infidels. O Muslims, go to war everywhere. It is the duty of every Muslim.”
Now, as a Christian, I’m sure glad that hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide would reject this religious madman’s rant. It’s the millions who apparently agree with him who terrify me.
SOURCE: USA Today