Monday, 15 August 2016

"Figures show strong backing for extremists". South China Morning Post

My letter published today:
Figures show strong backing for extremists
I refer to the letter by Siddiq ­Bazarwala ("Anti-Muslim ignorance helps terrorists", August 7), replying to my letter ­("Millions of Muslims back ­Islamic State", July 27).
Your correspondent claims I misrepresent research on Muslim opinion with "vitriolic and anti-Muslim" rhetoric and promote "false narratives". In short, I'm an Islamophobe. Not so.
It is important to have a good grasp of how many support extremist ­Islam. Is it less than 0.1 per cent as Mr Bazarwala claims, or closer to the figure I quoted, "a minimum of 63 million"? The short answer is that I am right.
We both accept the Pew Research figures of the percentages which view Islamic State (IS) favourably.
The 63 million figure came from Harvard ­history professor Niall Ferguson. I fact-checked his figures (per cent times population) and confirmed them ­(tinyurl.com/support-for-Isis).
Mr Bazarwala simply ­quoted a Pew sub-headline to its study, "Muslim views of ISIS overwhelmingly negative" across the Muslim world.
At least 63 million Muslims in 11 Muslim countries support IS. Worldwide, well over 100 ­million do so.
It is certainly not "less than 0.1 per cent" of the Muslim population as ­Mr Bazarwala claims, but more like 10 per cent. This fact should be of grave concern to us all.
Why should Islam alone be immune from examination and why call critics "Islamophobes"? I can criticise the pope without being called a "Cathophobe". Or make fun of ­Mormons (Book of ­Mormon) without being a "Mormophobe".
But I can't point to wide support for IS 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 co-religionists wreak havoc, are not "innocent" bystanders. They are culpable bystanders.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay
http://www.scmp.com/comment/letters/article/2002901/letters-editor-august-14-2016

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