Commentary: Islamophobia – The Mind Killer

1261832100_3157b05df5_zFollowing the terrorist attacks on Belgium, much fuss was made about Muslims and the threat they pose to Americans – especially from supporters of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and even Bernie Sanders (although to be fair to Sanders, his stance is far from such claims).

We can easily dismiss individuals who express their concerns for Muslims as bigots, but doing so is not particularly persuasive. It ignores that many of these people are our family members and friends who would personally take a bullet for you. It also does not account to my satisfaction for why said neighbors applaud Trump’s blanket ban on all Muslim immigration or why Cruz’s suggestion that “we need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

The reason is fear. Fear can make otherwise perfectly rational people do incredulously stupid things.

There is an old saying I hold to my heart about fear management. It goes:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

It is not that there is nothing to fear in the world – as someone who walks through busy traffic every day, it would be foolish of me to do so blindfolded. However, fear often seizes us, rendering its hostages incapable of truly understanding the dangers posed by any threat.

With that in mind, I am going to detach myself from fear and examine many common claims with regards to Muslims and Islamic terrorists and the threats they actually pose to the Occident.

1. Claim – Islam is not a religion of peace

Many individuals suggest Islam is a uniquely radical religion in that it alone contains text that can be used to justify extreme violence in the name of religion. What this neglects is virtually every religion contains passages that can be interpreted in a way that inspires actions most would consider evil.

Christianity justified slavery for centuries. Meanwhile, more contemporary groups such as the Army of God use the Bible as a pretext for bombing abortion clinics, militants attacked black churches in Colorado and South Carolina, and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army twisted religion to justify “murder, abduction, sexual enslavement, mutilation, as well as mass burnings of houses and looting of camp settlements; that abducted civilians, including children, are said to have been forcibly recruited as fighters, porters and sex slaves and to take part in attacks against the Ugandan army (UPDF) and civilian communities”. 

Perhaps Christianity is not much of a religion of peace either. Nevertheless, what about a truly pacifistic religion, say, Buddhism. In Burma, the doctrines of Buddha have not prevented the mass Buddhist ethnic cleansing of local Muslims.

It seems more likely to me that of any religion with an enormous number of followers, an obscenely small number of them commit atrocities in the name of the religion probably because they were looking for a justification anyway.

Considering there are roughly 1.3 billion Muslims on the planet, it should not be a surprise several thousand are extremists or terrorists, while more than 99.9% of them are not.

2. Claim – Muslims are not doing enough to condemn violence

It is often suggested that leaders in Muslim communities often stand tacitly after any terrorist attack in lieu of speaking against such tragedies. Ignoring that to me, this seems to be an unfair double standard (is the Pope expected to condemn Joseph Kony or abortion clinic bombings?), this has not prevented prominent Muslim clerics, imams and individuals from denouncing terrorist actions. Here are two extensive lists I was able to find in about 10 seconds of Googling.

I feel it’s also worth mentioning the U.S. has nearly 6,000 self-identified Muslims serving in the military (this is a likely significant underestimate, as 400,000 soldiers in the armed forces do not choose to identify their religion), which is far, far more than the amount who have decided to join the ranks of extremists and attack American interests.

Moreover, with little exception, countries with large Muslim populations have overwhelmingly negative opinions of ISIS. Meanwhile, of those who do support the organization, it seems important to note how much of their favorability is more likely due to social/cultural factors other than religion per se. Otherwise it is difficult to reconcile why 5% of Christians in Burkina Faso have favorable opinions of ISIS.


Source – Pew Research Center

3. Claim – Muslims are the most significant extremist threat posed to the United States

It is true that on a handful of occasions since 9/11, a Western-educated Muslim extremist did kill multiple Americans in the United States. Whenever this happens, for better or worse it seems to grab the headlines for weeks and focus the rhetoric of politicians for years. Yet, by the numbers, Muslim extremists are not close to being the most dangerous demographic of extremists in the U.S., let alone threat in general.

In a 2014 poll of law enforcement agencies, not exactly the most liberal-minded organizations in the world, 74% reported right-wing, anti-government extremists as a top three threat in their jurisdiction, while only 39% listed an Islamic-extremist threat.

This should come as to no surprise. Since 9/11, there has been an average of six terrorism-related plots against the United States perpetrated by an average of nine American Muslims per year. Keep in mind, most were disrupted; however, 20 plots were successfully executed and accounted for 50 fatalities. Meanwhile, right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year for a total of 254 fatalities, though that total has increased since the study’s 2012 release.

For more perspective, one in one million Muslim Americans died last year because of anti-Islam violence in the U.S., while only one in 17 million Americans died because of a Muslim extremist (also worth noting, 2015 had more killings by Muslim extremists than most years following 9/11).

Furthermore, since 9/11 there were 215,000 murders in the United States. That works out to roughly 4,300 homicides for every individual who died at the hands of a Muslim extremist in the U.S. Snopes says it is also true more Americans died because of toddler shootings in 2015 than a Muslim terrorist.

If other sources of violence were proportionally treated in the fashion we handle Muslim extremists, the media would be discussing toddler shootings for weeks on end while the White House and Congress would be hosting special sessions on the rising wave of Islamophobic violence in the United States.

4. Claim –Muslim immigrants are ushering in a new era of terrorist violence upon Europe

Even in Europe, it seems if anything, Muslim immigration is inversely correlated to terrorist attacks, despite a few notable incidents.


Source – Statista

What stand out to me most about that chart are two tidbits. The first is even when examining solely Muslim terrorism, every ensuing decade was better than the 1980s, though it likely is not thought of as such in contemporary Europe. Lastly, the nationalist Irish menace was alive and well in the 70s and 80s, yet I can recollect no widespread support for the banning of Irish immigration in that time.

Why aren’t the Irish held to the same standard we hold Muslims with regards to extremist terrorists. Is it because they were most active in decades past (though I am unaware of any calls to ban Irish immigration in the 70s and 80s), or is it because they are a less foreign, English-speaking, and a threat people are better able to wrap their mind around?

Regardless, I’m going to say something the mainstream media and establishment doesn’t have the guts to share.

I think it’s time we recognize the dangers posed to us by Irishmen abroad. We should begin to empower American law enforcement to patrol and secure Irish neighborhoods lest they become havens for terrorism. They are killing us in the streets and Irish leaders sit idly by or are even praising our deaths. We should recognize that although it may be true some or even most Irish are not in fact terrorists, enough are that we must not allow ourselves to be drowned in political correctness-driven cowardice. It is time to ban their entry into the U.S.

Our values of tolerance, trust and openness will be the demise of life as we know it. We must collectively wake up to the fact that Irish values innately breed violence and some people cannot be peacefully integrated into society.

If we want to make America great and for the spice to flow, it’s not going to be with us holding a potato in one hand and a four-leaf clover in the other.

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