Thursday 21 October 2010

Terrorists are not Muslims..... Except for the 94% that are

98% of religiously-based designated
organisations are Islamic.
Later: 98% of religiously-based designated terrorist organisations are Islamic.
It may not be seemly to argue over which religion or ideology is responsible for the most number of terrorist acts in the world.  But I didn't start it!
This post is in response to an article by blogger Danios of  His piece is titled "All Terrorists are Muslims.... Except the 94% that Aren't".
He comes to this conclusion by drawing on an FBI report "Terrorism 2002-05".[which actually covers 1980 to 2005]
One of his key conclusions is that Jews are responsible for 7% of terrorist acts, Muslims for 6%.  So Jews commit more terrorist acts than Muslims!!  And Latinos for more than either.
Problem is that the stats go back to 1980 and the Jewish terrorist acts ended in 1986.  (moreover, those acts were aimed at specific targets, not randomly at innocent citizens).  And the so-called "Latino" terrorist acts ceased in 1998.
It would make about as much sense as taking the stats back to the seventies and concluding that the crazies of the left, the Baader-Meinhof Gang and the Red Brigades, were responsible for most terrorist acts. [I guess he's been reading the book above, though maybe he's just a natural at massaging the figures...]
A more detailed critique of Danios' claims follows:
Today there’s a major effort to paint Islamist extremists as an “extreme minority”, despite the fact that 25% of Muslims around the Muslim world – according to the impeccably left-liberal Pew Research Centre – think that Osama bin Laden is “good for the world”.  (For bin Laden's world view, see “The Al-Qaeda Reader”).   
Allied with that effort is a new effort: to suggest that most terrorist acts are not carried out by Muslims: for example, the post “All terrorists are Muslims.... Except the 94% that Aren’t” by Danios at
Drawing on figures from an FBI report, Danios concludes that of all terrorist acts in the period covered 6% were Islamist and 7% Jewish.  Actually, that’s true, for the period (I’ve checked and get 7% and 8% respectively, so that's close enough).  
But the leap he makes is the implication that Jewish terrorism is something that is being underreported today:

Danios says:
According to this data, there were more Jewish acts of terrorism within the United States than Islamic (7% vs 6%).  These radical Jews committed acts of terrorism in the name of their religion.  These were not terrorists who happened to be Jews; rather, they were extremist Jews who committed acts of terrorism based on their religious passions, just like Al-Qaeda and company.

Yet notice the disparity in media coverage between the two..... It is to such an extent that the average American cannot remember any Jewish or Latino terrorist; why should he when he has never even heard of the Jewish Defense League or the Ejercito Popular Boricua Macheteros?  Surely what he does not know does not exist!

These seemed pretty strange stats and statements to me.  "No media coverage of Jewish terrorism"? What was going on here??  I had a close look at the figures he drew on.  They’re available in raw form here.  And in pdf of the spreadsheet I have made of them here.

Here are my conclusions:

Old News

Why would we never have heard of the Jewish Defence League?   Why is there a “disparity in media coverage”, as Danios claims?
Well, it could have to do with the fact that the last time the Jewish Defence League carried out any terrorist act in the United States was in 1986.  Now it’s true that there are those who will never forgive Jews –   “the descendants of apes and pigs” according to the “prophet” –  but even for the New York Times, bombings of 25 years ago are hardly “news”.
As for the “Ejercito Popular” movement, the last time it carried out a terrorist act was in 1998, so again, 12 year-old-story does not news make.  Moreover, the Ejercito was very much a locally-based separatist organisation: aiming for the independence of Puerto Rico – all but two of its acts were in Puerto Rico.  It was a territorial-independence outfit.  It was not  based on the aim of subverting the Constitution of the United States and overthrowing western enlightenment culture, as are today’s Islamist ones (eg, see Times Square Bomber court statements).

Danios says (referring to the Ejercito Popular movement):

Can you imagine the reaction if I said that Latinos should be profiled because after all they are the ones who commit the most terrorism in the country?

Why would anyone want to profile Latinos, when the last “Latino” terrorist act was in 1998? 

Non-Islamic terrorism in the news

As for other acts of “non-Islamic terrorists”, that Danios says are not covered in the media, in recent times these are the so-called “eco-terrorists”.  Any quick search will reveal that they get plenty of coverage, including in the New York Times.  A Google search of “Earth Liberation Front”, or the wonderfully-named “Revenge of the Trees” will reveal this.

Types of terrorism: tree spiking vs mass murder

Then look the types of terrorism.  The only non-Islamic terrorism that appears to be happening in this decade is “eco-terrorism” such as of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF and its cutesy “Elves”), the Earth First Organisation or Revenge of the Trees(!).  And what are they up to?  Apart from fire-bombing the real estate of the hated “globalist-capitalist” system – and trying specifically "not to cause harm to animals, human or non-human” --  they spike trees and release minks into the wild.
Now, my friend says that freeing minks can cause real damage to indigenous fauna.  And I worry about that; I do.  But somehow, to me, that doesn’t seem to present the existential threat of an ideology that seeks the world dominance of its own religion or death to the non-believer.  I’m somehow not as worried that a tree (or "Tree") will seek to wreak its Revenge on me -- not even a Banyan tree with its creepy aerial roots ("Roots") --  as I am by airplanes used as missiles, or by bombs in the Subway.
I also note that while the "eco-terrorists" may have been responsible for 22% of terrorist "acts" (and one could argue whether or not they should have been classified as "terrorism" at all, but still...) they were responsible for 0.0% of deaths in the period (and none since).

The fallacy of range

A big problem with the stats Danios quotes is their range: 1980-2005.  Admittedly this is not his fault; it’s the way the FBI has reported them. And they do not appear to have a more recent report in the same format: the only one being a report of terrorism internationally, of 2008.
In the early eighties there were plenty of left wing and a few right wing organisations, some carrying out terrorist acts.  Omega 7 is one such (they're the Cuban paramilitaries, not the fatty acids, though of course they may be the same thing....).  But even when it was active, Omega 7 apparently only had a handful of people -- "less than 20" [!] according to Wikipedia. It’s been out of action since the mid eighties.  Ditto the Ku Klux Clan and various other sorry outfits of Left and Right.  But they do bulk up the number of terrorist acts.  And the only way Danios has counted terrorist acts –as if they are all the same – is in number.
The stats could have gone even further back, to the seventies, and taken in the Baader Meinhof Gang, and the Red Brigades. 
That would have bulked up the numbers even more and diluted the Islamic numbers.  But it would have diluted the Jewish numbers as well. Making a range that goes back to the eighties does the job: it dilutes the Islamic numbers and brings in the Jewish Defence League of the eighties, resulting in numbers that allow Danios to claim that Jews commit more terrorist acts than Islamists. 

The results of terror acts – measure by death….

Even using the FBI report and its accepting its range (1980-2005), we have the following figures:

Number of Islamist terrorist acts: 6% (Danios), 7% (me)
Deaths by Islamist terrorist acts: 94%
Last Islamist terrorist act: Yesterday, Today (and tomorrow).  Average 5/day since 2001 (source).

Number of Jewish terrorist acts: 7% (Danios), 8% (me).
Deaths by Jewish terrorist acts: 0.09%
Last Jewish terrorist act (FBI stats): 1986

Latest FBI Report on terror acts: international 2008

Danios does not refer to the latest FBI figures on terrorism worldwide.  They show the clear majority of Islamic terrorism.
Here’s what they report for worldwide terrorist acts:
FBI Report on Terrorism, 2008, p45

Total: 15,765 dead.(some double counting, due to joint claims).

Update, 3 Feb 2012: FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, 2011 Report on Terrorism, 30 April 2011.

Terrorist acts stopped

In the FBI reports, you can read about terrorist acts that have been thwarted.  They don’t summarise those in tabular format, but in the reading of them, they are all, bar one or two, Islamic.  
That's not to mention those acts that simply failed because of incompetence of the Islamic bombers, but which would have killed thousands if "successful": the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Dallas bomber.  And the one that did succeed, Nidal in Fort Hood, bringing up the Islamic average with 13 deaths...

29 of 30 "Most Wanted Terrorists" are Islamists.

Only one on the Most Wanted Terrorist List is non-Islamic. Check out the list here.

Of course, at the end of the day, the numbers of people killed by terrorist acts in the United States is minuscule – just one or two a year. Without downplaying the threat, it’s also clear that one should keep the actual danger of death by terrorism in perspective.
It is clear, however, that to the extent that terrorism is a threat to life – as opposed to property, which is the eco-terrorist focus ---  it’s almost entirely Islamic.
More important is this point: that the Islamic threat is much more than just terrorist.  More insidious, quieter and yet just as determined, is the threat of “stealth jihad”, the slow and steady pressure to insinuate Sharia into the west, which is documented in many books and blogs.

The bottom line story on terrorism and the threat of stealth jihad is pretty simple: it’s Islamic, stupid.