Friday, 24 October 2014

Misrepresenting Islam? The strange case of CJ Werleman

There's been an interesting tussle between Sam Harris and C.J. Werleman (an Aussie, I'm sad to say).
Sam wins the tussle, but I wanted here to focus on one bit of it, namely Werleman's choice of a Gallup poll of Muslims to "prove" that only a small minority is radical.
At 7:30' he says that 99.9% of Muslims don't want an Islamic caliphate or don't want to impose Sharia law.  He's flat wrong on this.  A majority of Muslims, even in western countries, do indeed want to impose Sharia law.  See my page link above for extensive links to polls on Muslims in western and Islamic countries.
More egregiously, Werleman cricitices (08:00') Harris for "cherry picking" polls and quotes the Gallup poll which led to the book "What a Billion Muslims Really Think" by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed in 2008.*
This Gallup poll, though, was seriously flawed.  See Robert Satloff's takedown of it here.
The full data from the 9/11 question show that, in addition to the 13.5 percent, there is another 23.1 percent of respondents--300 million Muslims--who told pollsters the attacks were in some way justified. Esposito and Mogahed don't utter a word about the vast sea of intolerance in which the radicals operate. [ref]
Whichever way you look at it, there are between 100 million and 400 million Muslims worldwide who think that it's in some way justified to fly commercial planes into buildings. That it's just fine to randomly kill innocent civilians in the name of the Islam.

*Esposito and Mogahad are apologists of Islam. Esposito is a professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, funded by Saudi Arabia and Mogahed was head of the Islamic Society of North America, which is a Muslim Brotherhood front.  Hardly neutral on the issues here, and surely a case of "cherry picking", if there ever was one.