Wednesday, 10 August 2016

"Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists", August 7 (ATTENTION: John Lee)

Hi John,
You may be tired of the debate on this issue.  But in the latest letter from Bazarwala (Aug 7), he has completely libelled me, with plainly incorrect statements.  He has allegedly "refuted" my claim by referring to a Pew headline (not by fact-checking himself), and the headline does not invalidate my figure of the number of muslims who support violent jihadis.
Media Matters, that Bazarwala quotes, does the same as he does: they simply quote Pew's headline and think that that's the clinching argument.  Have a look at the video, it's only one minute. It's a scandal that they think this proves their case. It does not. And them thinking so is either ignorant or duplicitous.
The figures clearly support me. There are large numbers of Muslims who support the cause of ISIS.  That's the fact.  The other letters to SCMP on this issue make the same point. I've linked all below, for reference.
I hope you can print my letter, even if it's the fifth on the issue. There's actually a lot of interest in it, if my emails are any indication. And it's an important issue.
Why should Bazarwala get the last word, when his last word is clearly false?
Peter Forsythe

LETTER: 295 words

Mr Bazarwala claims I misrepresent research on Muslim opinion with "vitriolic and anti-Muslim" rhetoric. I promote "false narratives and witchhunts". In short, I'm an "Islamophobe". (Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists, August 7).
Not so.
It ought to be clear why it matters to have a good grasp of how many support extremist Islam. Is it less than 0.1% as Mr Bazarwala claims? Or is it closer to the figure I quoted, "a minimum of 63 million"?
Short answer: I am right and Mr Bazarwala is wrong. 
We both accept the Pew Research figures of the percentages who view ISIS favourably. The 63 million figure was derived by Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson. I fact-checked his figures myself (percent times population) and confirmed them (  
Mr Bazarwala's "fact-checking" consists of quoting a Pew sub-headline to their study: Muslim views of ISIS are "overwhelmingly negative" across the Muslim world.  Maybe so.  But the headline would have been equally correct as:  "Tens of millions view ISIS favourably".
This is a fact. At least 63 million Muslims in eleven Muslim countries support ISIS.  Worldwide, well over one hundred million do so. 
It is certainly not "less than 0.1%" of the Muslim population as Bazarwala claims, but more like 10%.
This fact should be of grave concern to us all. 
Why should Islam alone be immune from examination?  Why are critics slandered as "Islamophobes"?  I can criticise the Pope without being called a "Cathophobe". Or make fun of Mormons ("The Book of Mormon"), without being a "Mormophobe".
But I can't point to wide support for ISIS without being a "vitriolic, anti-Muslim Islamophobe"?
Moderate Muslims must address Islam's nastier doctrines and practices. 
Non-violent Muslims who don't do so, when their violent coreligionists wreak havoc, are not "innocent" bystanders. They are culpable bystanders. 

Peter Forsythe.
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong
9308 0799

SCMP letters:
Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists. Siddiq Bazarwala. August 6, 2016
Peace-loving Muslims must take a stand. Marian Schneps. July 31, 2016
Many Muslims back Islamic State. Peter Forsythe. July 28, 2016
Extremists more than a tiny minority.  Christoper Ruane. July 24, 2016
Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful. Siddiq Bazarwala. July 16, 2016
Pew Research:

Hannity misreads a Pew study to claim that "significant" number of Muslims support ISIS. Media Matters. November 23, 2015.  
The video does not show that Hannity "misread" the Pew study.  His figure of 63 million is spot on.  MM simply quote the Pew headline, and think that that wins the argument!  They're either ignorant or duplicitous.  Fools or knaves.  The figure derived from Pew is exactly what Hannity said.  As were his extrapolated figures.  For details see my post.