Islamophobes Distort Poll Results To Hide the Truth
by Sheila Musaji
David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine just published an article New Pew Poll Undercuts Left’s “Islamophobia” Card by Joseph Klein which looks selectively at a recently released PEW poll and attempts to reinforce the anti-Muslim meme that Muslims are more likely than members of other religious groups to engage in violence against civilians.
Klein is shocked that in his reading of the meaning of this poll:
Thirteen percent of the Muslim Americans surveyed by Pew refused to rule out suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in all circumstances. The results broke down this way – 8% said that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are either “often” or “sometimes” justified to defend Islam from its enemies, and 5% were willing to entertain such terrorist tactics in “rare” circumstances. Extrapolating from the survey results, out of the estimated 1.8 million Muslim adults (18 or over) living in the United States in 2011, this means that nearly 150,000 Muslim Americans would appear to condone suicide bombing or other violence against civilians “often” or “sometimes,” and another 90,000 would support it in “rare” circumstances.
There have been a number of polls and surveys of the American Muslim community, as well as of other American religious communities. TAM has a collection of these here.
The PEW poll only looked at the attitudes of American Muslims. In order to have something concrete to compare Muslim attitudes and non-Muslim attitudes, let’s look at another recent poll by Gallup that looked at Muslim and well as other religious groups attitudes towards the same question. TAM published an article on the results of the recent Gallup poll here.
And, here are some charts thanks to Loonwatch about the Gallup Poll on this topic that included responses from members of various religious communities (not only Muslims).
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Now, let’s exactly duplicate Klein’s alarmist and one-sided interpretation.
24% of non-Muslim Americans refused to rule out the targeting of civilians in all circumstances. Estimates of the adult (over 18) U.S. population are 175,000,000 people. That means that 4,200,000 non-Muslim Americans would consider the targeted killing of civilians by individuals could sometimes be justified.
The only possible logical conclusion is that in America, the number of individuals who do not entirely rule out the possibility of violence against civilians carried out by individuals breaks down to as many as:
150,000 to 250,000
and the number of individuals who think that violence against civilians carried out by the military is sometimes justified goes up dramatically to 21% of Muslim, 52% of Jewish, 58% of Christians, 64% of Mormons, and 48% of Americans with no religion stated.
More than twice as many non-Muslims think that violence against civilians is sometimes justified.
I absolutely agree with Danios of Loonwatch who said about this alarming situation:
The only worthwhile conclusion that we can draw from all this is that an unacceptable number of people in general–whether they be Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or even atheist/agnostic–think it’s OK to sometimes target and kill civilians. This is a sobering thought, and should remind us that we should all work together to end war and bring peace to this earth. The hateful and violent state of humanity–egged on by Islamophobes (as well as their counterparts in the Muslim world)–is truly disturbing. Something is truly wrong when so many people–of every faith (as well as those of no faith)–believe it’s sometimes justified to take the life of an innocent human being.
Zuhdi Jasser in the anti-Muslim film “The Third Jihad” also referred to this PEW poll and drew the same sort of false conclusion in a section of that film titled The Numbers. Jasser also found the results of the PEW poll to be an indictment of the Muslim community by ignoring all of the other information.
The press release for a debate held this week between Shadid Lewis and Robert Spencer and sponsored by Ave Maria Radio included this statement:
... The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently showed that 19% of U.S. Muslims said that “suicide bombing or other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam” could be justified. That number in Egypt is 29% and 40% in the Palestinian territories. Do these findings mock the claim that Islam is a religion of peace?
Al Kresta, CEO of Ave Maria Communications notes: “When this conference is over, Christians and Muslims won’t be holding hands and singing Kumbayah. Everyone who participates in this frank, no holds barred discussion, however, will be thankful for free speech and a civil society which permits people with irreconcilable differences to understand if not agree with one another.”
The featured debate will be Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.org facing off against Shadid Lewis, regional director of the Muslim Debate Initiative in the US, on the question “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” ...
[ See TAM articles on this debate and the many issues surrounding it — The American Muslim Communities’ “Useful Idiots”, and Robert Spencer and TAM, the site that cannot be mentioned. ]
Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and the Islamophobia network are once again repeating this PEW poll misinformation in their talking points, and so we are reposting this article.
Claim that all terrorists are Muslims ignores history http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/claim_that_all_terrorists_are_muslims_ignores_history
Existing Reports, Polls, and Studies on Islam, Muslims & Radicalization http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/relevant_reports
Islamophobia: Real or Imagined - TAM article collection http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamophobia_real_or_imagined
Muslim Voices Promoting Islamic Non Violent Solutions http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/promoting_islamic_non_violent_solutions
Surveys Show Muslims in Every Country Less Likely to Justify Killing Civilians than Americans and Israelis http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/08/surveys-show-muslims-in-every-country-less-likely-to-justify-killing-civilians-than-americans-and-israelis/
What everyone “knows” about Islam and Muslims http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what_everyone_knows
Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry with detailed responses to the work and claims of the key Islamophobes http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_whos_who_of_the_anti-muslimanti-arabislamophobia_industry/
Originally published 9/8/2011