Archive for Gallup Poll

Jews and Muslims in America: More in Common Than We Think

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from AltMuslim)

A new Gallup poll shows that American Muslims and Jews – in addition to having a shared religious minority experience – share a great deal of political and social views, as well as a deeper than expected affinity.

By Joshua Stanton, August 14, 2011

Contrary to common assumptions, many Jewish and Muslim Americans enjoy warm relations. Yet we are only beginning to understand how and why this is so. A Gallup report released last week goes a long way to explaining this unexpected trend, which shows that the two diverse communities have more in common than is often thought.

The report, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future”, reveals that overwhelming numbers of Jewish Americans believe Muslim Americans are loyal to their country – 80 per cent to be exact. Aside from Muslims themselves, no other religious community demonstrates such confidence in the loyalty of America’s Muslim citizens.

Further, it seems that Jewish and Muslim Americans share a number of common political views – even about issues as contentious as the Middle East conflict. The same study indicates that 81 per cent of Muslim Americans and 78 per cent of Jewish Americans support a two-state solution, which would enable Israel and a future independent Palestinian state to live side by side. While dialogue about the Middle East conflict remains contentious, the vision for a long-term solution appears surprisingly similar.

How could this be? Why would two communities, so often portrayed as being at each other’s throats, not only have confidence in each other but have similar perspectives on even the most contentious issues?

One possibility is a shared immigrant experience. Jewish immigrants, who arrived in multiple waves of immigration but most visibly in large numbers at the end of the 19th century, often used education as a means of gaining a foothold in America and of finding a way to contribute to their new country. It now appears that Muslims are taking a similar approach. In fact, 40 per cent of Muslims surveyed in a 2009 Gallup report, “Muslim Americans: A National Portrait”, note that they have attained a college degree or higher. This makes Muslim Americans the second most likely of any religious group, behind Jewish Americans, to attain at least a college education. It seems that Muslim Americans may be carving out a niche and contributing to American society today much as their Jewish counterparts did a century ago.

While Jews and Muslims in America may have highly educated communities, both groups also exhibit fear about perceptions that others hold of their traditions. According to last week’s report, Jewish and Muslim Americans are more likely than adherents of any other tradition to conceal their religious identity.

It may be an understanding of what this means that has caused what may best be described as significant empathy on the part of many Jewish and Muslim Americans. While 60 per cent of Muslim Americans polled by Gallup say that they experience prejudice from most Americans, a remarkable 66 per cent of Jewish Americans say that most Americans exhibit prejudice against Muslims. This means that Jewish Americans are aware of anti-Muslim prejudice more than any other religious community.

Fear and other negative responses to prejudice may compound the overall drive for Jews and Muslims to obtain a higher education and find a niche in the United States. This process may also create stress for members of both communities. According to the 2009 Gallup report, 39 per cent of Muslim Americans and 36 per cent of Jewish Americans report experiencing a lot of “worry”. This worry may correspond to fear of prejudicial treatment and a desire to conceal one’s religious identity. Overt displays of religious identity and the push to succeed in a new society may come into tension for both communities, though this is a hypothesis that warrants further research.

In short, Jews and Muslims share profoundly in their experience in the United States. As small religious minorities, each under two per cent of the American population – with Muslim Americans perhaps a fraction of that figure – they maintain a sense of marginalisation. Yet their response to this adversity is one of contribution to society through significant investment in personal education, which in turn creates new opportunities.

Jewish immigration to America may have peaked over a century ago, while Muslim immigration is still relatively new. But both communities share in their drive not only to make America their home but to attain a prominent role in that newfound homeland. Both communities would do well to recognise the remarkable parallels in their experiences as immigrants to America – as would Americans in other religious communities. The potential for collaboration is clear, while the narrative of conflict has been significantly debunked.

Joshua M. Z. Stanton is co-founder of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue and Religious Freedom USA, as well as a Schusterman Rabbinical Fellow at Hebrew Union College. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

James Kirchick: What About all the “Christianist” Support for Killing Civilians?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by loonwatch

In an August 2nd piece in the New York Daily News, James Kirchick a contributing editor for The New Republic wrote that ‘Islamist terror dwarfs Breivik’s brand because almost nobody supports Christianist violence.’ He implies in the piece that there is more support amongst Muslims for the targeted killing of civilians than groups in the West.

Kirchick is not the first, and probably will not be the last to express such a sentiment. To buttress his point Kirchick cites the familiar Pew Poll research and celebrations on Palestinian streets after the 9/11 attacks as evidence that there is a large wellspring for terrorism, while claiming that, excepting some mad bloggers, Breivik was universally condemned in the West.

It goes without saying that Kirchick’s analysis is simplistic for more than one reason.  Firstly, Breivik’s terrorism did not emerge out of nowhere, there is an anti-Muslim movement from which his thoughts were gleaned. Secondly, there are many in the anti-Muslim movement who share Breivik’s ideas about the “Muslim threat.” Thirdly, while many in the anti-Muslim movement are not willing to kill to reach their ends they do share in a radical and anti-Democratic path to “solve” the “Muslim problem.” Fourth, there is a significant group of individuals who do support aggressive and violent action to “save the West from Muslims” (see: SIOA is a Hate Group).

Fifth, the Islamist terror threat is overblown, (see: “All Terrorists are…”). Sixth, Kirchick conflates anti-Americanism and opposition to American foreign policy with  those who express a willingness to join “Islamist terror.” Seventh, he is unaware or ignores the fact there is a disproportionately large amount of support and acceptance for the killing of civilians amongst non-Muslims in the West, but lets keep it brief.

Support for Breivik’s Brand of Terror vs. Islamist Terror vs. Professional State Terrorism

Breivik’s brand of terror may not elicit as much support as ‘Islamist terror,’ but that is not to say there isn’t a pool of acceptance for the murder of civilians in the West. In fact, what would Kirchick’s response be to the fact that many more non-Muslims condone and justify the murder of civilians than Muslims?

58% of Catholics and Protestants believe the targeted military killing of civilians is sometimes justified (would that be considered “Christianist” support?), while 52% of Jews and 64% of Mormons believe it is sometimes justified. That dwarfs Muslims, 21% of whom say it is sometimes justified, while 78% say it is never justified.

What would Kirchick make of the evidence that Americans and Israelis are more likely to justify the murder of civilians than Muslims in almost every country?

Mormon-Americans 64%
Christian-Americans 58%
Jewish-Americans 52%
Israeli Jews 52%
Palestinians* 51%
No religion/Atheists/Agnostics (U.S.A.) 43%
Nigerians* 43%
Lebanese* 38%
Spanish Muslims 31%
Muslim-Americans 21%
German Muslims 17%
French Muslims 16%
British Muslims 16%
Egyptians* 15%
Indonesians* 13%
Jordanians* 12%
Pakistanis* 5%
Turks* 4%

*refers to Muslims only

It would seem that Professional Terrorism of the statecraft kind dwarfs the meager in comparison threat of “Islamist terror.”

Perhaps Kirchick wrote this piece before the publication of the Gallup Poll survey and was therefore the victim of horrible timing?

Homework for James Kirchick

Kirchick would do well to read a new book from Charles Kurzman, “The Missing Martyrs.”

“The Missing Martyrs” is an accessible scholarly work that addresses the overlooked and often ignored question of: if as we are told, there is a lot of support for terrorism amongst Muslims, why out of 1.5 billion Muslims are there so few Muslim terrorists? Why does fear of the bogeyman of “terrorism” continue to haunt us when the threat from so-called “jihadists” is just not that great?

Aaron Ross in his book review for MotherJones writes,

As it turns out, there just aren’t that many Muslims determined to kill us. Backed by a veritable army of fact, figures, and anecdotes, Kurzman makes a compelling case. He calculates, for example, that global Islamist terrorists have succeeded in recruiting fewer than 1 in 15,000 Muslims over the past 25 years, and fewer than 1 in 100,000 since 2001. And according to a top counterterrorism official, Al Qaeda originally planned to hit a West Coast target, too, on 9/11 but lacked the manpower to do so.

While Arabs and Muslims continue to repudiate Al Qaeda and its allies by toppling dictators and pushing forward towards Democracy, it is high time that US journalists, analysts and think tanks stop beating the dead horse of “Islamist terror” and catch up to the changes shaking the world.

Terrorism is not confined to non-state actors alone, if this is accepted than the narrative of greater support for terrorism amongst Muslims must not only be revised but should properly be dumped in the garbage bin of history.

Surveys Show Muslims in Every Country Less Likely to Justify Killing Civilians than Americans and Israelis

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2011 by loonwatch

(source for comic)

I recently published an article entitled Gallup Poll: Jews and Christians Way More Likely than Muslims to Justify Killing Civilians.  The poll found that Muslim-Americans (21%) were far less likely than their fellow Jewish (52%) and Christian (58%) countrymen to think it is sometimes justifiable to target and kill civilians.  (For the record, these numbers were 64% in Mormons and 43% in people with no religion/atheists/agnostics.)

Islamophobes didn’t like the results of this poll and quickly protested.  LibertyPhile, an anti-Muslim bigot who spends his free time spreading hatred of Muslims (one wonders how empty his personal life is that he kills his spare time doing this?), whined:

…The survey is of American Muslims, who are unlikely to be representative of Muslims in Muslim countries or of Muslims in Europe.

LibertyPhile is among a select group of Islamophobes who have compiled various poll results which portray Muslims in a negative light.  The operative logic is usually as follows: x% of Muslims believe it is sometimes justifiable to target and kill civilians, and x% is a lot!

I agree that x% is a lot.  Even the 21% of Muslim-Americans who think it is sometimes justifiable to target and kill civilians is unacceptably high.  Yet, the point that Islamophobes intentionally fail to mention is that this number is less–far less in this case–than the general public (including Jews and Christians). So while it’s absolutely atrocious that 21% of Muslim-Americans would think so, more than twice that percentage of Jewish- and Christian-Americans think so! This fact “steals their (the Islamophobes’) thunder,” so to speak.

With regard to LibertyPhile’s comment, the data we have from Muslim and European countries confirms that Muslims in general are less likely to justify the killing of civilians as compared to Jews and Christians in America.  Interestingly enough, LibertyPhile himself links to a site that references a poll that proves this!

LibertyPhile links to a website citing the Populus for Policy Exchange, a British study that found that between 7-16% of British Muslims think that it is sometimes justifiable to target and kill civilians. This means that Jewish- and Christian Americans justify targeting and killing civilians 350% more than British Muslims.

LibertyPhile cites Pew Research Center.  Yet, Pew found the same results for French-Muslims: once again, only 16% of Muslims in France believe it is sometimes justifiable to target and kill civilians.  Pew notes that this is the case for the Muslims in all the European countries they polled; says Pew (emphasis added):

Like Muslims elsewhere in Europe only a tiny minority of French Muslims (16%) say that suicide bombings and other violence against civilian targets in defense of Islam can often or sometimes be justified.

Indeed, for Muslims in Germany that number is only 17% (according to a Pew poll), far less than the whopping 52% and 58% among American Jews and Christians, respectively.  According to the same poll, the percentage of Muslims in Spain is significantly higher, at 31%–which is still almost half of what it is for Christians in the United States.

The conclusion we draw from this is that Muslims in Western countries (such as United States, the U.K., France, Germany, and Spain) are far less likely than Jews and Christians in America to justify the targeting and killing of civilians.  This is quite the opposite of the picture that Islamophobes such as LibertyPhile paint.

What about Muslims in the Muslim-majority world?  Do they support the targeting and killing of civilians?  Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch published an article from CNS News, formerly called the Conservative News Service, which cited a Pew poll to prove that a sizable portion of the population did indeed support this.

Yet, even this source shows that support for the targeting and killing of civilians among Muslims in the Muslim world is still lower than what it is among Jews and Christians here in the United States. The article cited by Spencer reads:

In the Pew Global Attitudes Project poll released on Thursday, 68 percent of Palestinian Muslim respondents said suicide bombings against civilians were justifiable “to defend Islam from its enemies.”

That view was shared by 43 percent of respondents in Nigeria and 38 percent in Lebanon, where 51 percent of Shi’ites held the view compared to 25 percent of Sunnis.

Elsewhere, the proportion of Muslim respondents supporting suicide bombings against civilians was 15 percent in Egypt, 13 percent in Indonesia, 12 percent in Jordan, seven percent in Israel (Muslim Arab citizens), five percent in Pakistan and four percent in Turkey.

The Palestinians are split in between those inside of Israeli proper (1.5 million) and those in the Israeli Occupied Territories (4 million).  Using simple math (1.5×0.07+4×0.68)/(1.5+4)=0.51, we find that 51% of Palestinians overall think its sometimes justified to target and kill civilians.  On the the other hand, according to a Gallup poll 52% of Israelis think it is OK to target and kill civilians.

What we have then is:

Percentage of people who said it is sometimes justifiable to target and kill civilians:

Mormon-Americans 64%
Christian-Americans 58%
Jewish-Americans 52%
Israeli Jews 52%
Palestinians* 51%
No religion/Atheists/Agnostics (U.S.A.) 43%
Nigerians* 43%
Lebanese* 38%
Spanish Muslims 31%
Muslim-Americans 21%
German Muslims 17%
French Muslims 16%
British Muslims 16%
Egyptians* 15%
Indonesians* 13%
Jordanians* 12%
Pakistanis* 5%
Turks* 4%

*refers to Muslims only

Therefore, Muslims in every country are less likely than U.S. Jews and Christians (and Israeli Jews) to believe that it is sometimes justified to target and kill civilians.

*  *  *  *  *

The recent Gallup poll shows us how important context is when it comes to statistics.  For several years, the Islamophobes such as LibertyPhile have been peddling statistics showing that an inordinate number of Muslims in various countries believe it is justifiable to target and kill civilians.  For example, they would say something along the lines of:

16% of British Muslims believe it is justified to target and kill civilians.  There are over 2.5 million Muslims in the U.K.  Sixteen percent of 2.5 million is a lot!  That’s how many Muslims there are who believe terrorism is OK.

This number of 16% is certainly alarming, but the Islamophobe needs to prove that Muslims are more accepting of violence than people of other faiths, especially their own Judeo-Christian faith.  In order to draw such a conclusion, there must be another value from the other group to compare it to.  That’s what the recent Gallup poll gives us: a number to compare the 16% to.  And certainly, 58% and 52% are far greater than 16%.

The need for context–and something fair to compare a statistic to–is reflected in other such Muslim-bashing “factoids” that Islamophobes like LibertyPhile peddle.  For example, the site LibertyPhile links to notes that x% of Muslims want Sharia.  Aside from the fact that Muslims have a whole variety of views about what Sharia means and entails, we need to compare x% with the percentage of Jews and Christians who want Halacha and Biblical law in Israel and America.  For the Islamophobes, doing so would steal their thunder.

Ranting and raving about how many Muslims think it’s sometimes justifiable to target and kill civilians while your own religious group is worse really is a case of throwing stones living inside a glass house.  Throughout the Understanding Jihad Series, I have repeatedly harped on the overwhelming hypocrisy and double-standard Jewish and Christian Islamophobes use when they attack Islam.  More often than not, whatever they vilify in Islam is also found in their own religious faith.

*  *  *  *  *

The only worthwhile conclusion that we can draw from all this is that an unacceptable number of people in general–whether they be Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or even atheist/agnostic–think it’s OK to sometimes target and kill civilians.  This is a sobering thought, and should remind us that we should all work together to end war and bring peace to this earth.  The hateful and violent state of humanity–egged on by Islamophobes like Robert Spencer and LibertyPhile (as well as their counterparts in the Muslim world)–is truly disturbing.  Something is truly wrong when so many people–of every faith (as well as those of no faith)–believe it’s sometimes justified to take the life of an innocent human being.

My intention here is not to vilify Jews and Christians (see here).  It is only to prevent the line of thinking that has become endemic among us Americans: Those Foreign-Looking Moozlum People Over There are Evil and Wicked, Whereas We White Judeo-Christian People are Good and Holy.  Once it is acknowledged that we too have the same problem as they, we can draw not only a more accurate conclusion, but a more sensitive, tolerant, and helpful one.

Of course, it would be worthwhile to consider actual results on the ground: we Americans have (at minimum, using conservative numbers) killed 30 times as many Muslim civilians as Muslims have killed of ours, whereas Israelis have killed many-fold the number of civilians as Palestinians have killed of theirs.  Clearly, what people and states do is far more relevant than what they merely believe.

Gallup Poll: Jews and Christians Way More Likely than Muslims to Justify Killing Civilians

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2011 by loonwatch
The left side is considered Terrorism while the right side isn’t

 

A very important poll from Gallup was resulted recently.  I will comment in detail later on when I pick up where I left off in the Understanding Jihad Series (soon, I promise).

For the record, I purposefully worded the title of my post in a somewhat provocative way; as has been my style in the Series, I tend to show how we can turn the tables on anti-Muslim Jews (i.e. Pamela Geller) and Christians (i.e. Robert Spencer)–as well as anti-Muslim ex-Muslim atheists/agnostics (i.e. Faith Freedom International) who claim that Islam and Muslims are more violent than Judaism and Christianity.  These anti-Muslim elements would have worded the title this way, had it been the other way around.

Perhaps a more sensitive and appropriate way to word the title–had I not been trying to make a point–would be to say “Muslims Least Likely to Condone Targeting and Killing Civilians.”

Check out the results of the poll here and here.  Here are the more pertinent results in bar graph form:

And:

*  *  *  *  *

The comic above is absolutely wonderful and really depicts the utter hypocrisy of the United States and Israel. This hypocrisy is born out in the poll results, which show that many (a majority of?) Americans are opposed to small, weak, and largely irrelevant groups like Al-Qaeda killing civilians but are perfectly fine with the powerful, mighty, and hyper-ultra-mega-super power that is our military targeting and killing civilians on a much larger scale.

Here, it would be appropriate to understand the difference between what I call Professional Terrorism (“state terror”) and Amateur Terrorism (Al-Qaeda style).  Professional Terrorism uses the military-industrial complex to kill tens of thousands of civilians, whereas Amateur Terrorism uses untrained amateurs without the help of state resources to kill a handful of people (or which actually more commonly results in a failed bombing).

In American and Israeli society, Professional Terrorism is acceptable, whereas Amateur Terrorism is absolutely the world’s greatest evil.  Amateur Terrorism provides the justification for Professional Terrorism (this even though it is usually almost always the case that Professional Terrorism started the cycle of violence).  Those who have the capability to carry out Professional Terrorism have absolutely no need to resort to Amateur Terrorism since the former is so much more effective in killing civilians than the latter.  To this effect, Max Blumenthal has published an excellent article (which is worth reading in its entirety) in which he explains why more extremist Jews and Christians don’t need to rely on Anders Behring Breivik’s form of terrorism (Amateur Terrorism):

Many of the American writers who influenced Breivik spent years churning out calls for the mass murder of Muslims, Palestinians and their left-wing Western supporters. But the sort of terrorism these US-based rightists incited for was not the style the Norwegian killer would eventually adopt. Instead of Breivik’s renegade free-booting, they preferred the “shock and awe” brand of state terror perfected by Western armies against the brown hordes threatening to impose Sharia law on the people in Peoria. This kind of violence provides a righteous satisfaction so powerful it can be experienced from thousands of miles away.

And so most American Islamophobes simply sit back from the comfort of their homes and cheer as American and Israeli troops — and their remote-controlled aerial drones — leave a trail of charred bodies from Waziristan to Gaza City. Only a select group of able-bodied Islamophobes are willing to suit up in a uniform and rush to the front lines of the clash of civilizations. There, they have discovered that they can mow down Muslim non-combatants without much fear of legal consequences, and that when they return, they will be celebrated as the elite Crusader-warriors of the new Islamophobic right — a few particularly violent figures have been rewarded with seats in Congress. Given the variety of culturally acceptable, officially approved outlets for venting violent anti-Muslim resentment, there is little reason for any American to follow in Breivik’s path of infamy.

Before exploring the online subculture that both shaped and mirrored Breivik’s depravity, it is necessary to define state terror, especially the kind refined by its most prolific practitioners. At the dawn of the “war on terror,” the United States and Israel began cultivating a military doctrine called “asymmetrical warfare.” Pioneered by an Israeli philosophy and “practical ethics” professor named Asa Kasher and the former head of Israeli military intelligence, Lt. Gen. Amos Yadlin, and successfully marketed to the Pentagon, the asymmetrical warfare doctrine did away with traditional counterinsurgency tactics which depended on winning the “hearts and minds” of indigenous populations. Under the new rules, the application of disproportionate force against non-combatants who were supposedly intermingled with the “terrorists” was not only  justified but considered necessary. According to Kasher and Yadlin, eliminating the principle of distinction between enemy combatants and civilians was the most efficient means of deterring attacks from non-state actors like Hamas and Hezbollah while guarding the lives of Israeli soldiers.

Asymmetrical warfare has been witnessed in theaters of war across the Muslim world, leaving tens of thousands of civilians dead in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip. The strategy was formalized in the Dahiya district of southern Beirut in 2006, when the Israeli military flattened hundreds of civilian structures and homes to supposedly punish Hezbollah for its capturing of two Israeli soldiers.

From the ashes of the Israeli carpet bombing campaign emerged the “Dahiya Doctrine,” a term coined by an Israeli general responsible for directing the war on Lebanon in 2006. “IDF Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot uttered clear words that essentially mean the following,” wrote Israeli journalist Yaron London, who had just interviewed the general. “In the next clash with Hezbollah we won’t bother to hunt for tens of thousands of rocket launchers and we won’t spill our soldiers’ blood in attempts to overtake fortified Hizbullah positions. Rather, we shall destroy Lebanon and won’t be deterred by the protests of the ‘world.’” In a single paragraph, London neatly encapsulated the logic of state terror.

While Israel has sought to insulate itself from the legal ramifications of its attacks on civilian life by deploying elaborate propaganda and intellectual sophistry (witness the country’s frantic campaign to discredit the Goldstone Report), and the United States has casually dismissed allegations of war crimes as any swaggering superpower would (after a US airstrike killed scores of Afghan civilians, former US CENTCOM chief David Petraeus baselessly claimed that Afghan parents had deliberately burned their children alive to increase the death toll), the online Islamophobes who inspired Breivik tacitly accept the reality of Israeli and American state terror. And they like it. Indeed, American Islamophobes derive frightening levels of ecstasy from the violence inflicted by the armed forces against Muslim civilians.

Blumenthal notes that “state terror” and “asymmetric warfare” has been perfected by extremists the mainstream establishment in America and Israel and accepted unquestioningly by fringe elements the vast majority of citizenry.  Killing civilians has become so much a part of the norm and we have internalized it to such a great extent that we don’t even recognize it as inherently wrong any more.  This is clearly reflected in the Gallup poll.

*  *  *  *  *

On the relative irrelevance of Al-Qaeda’s violence, see here where Glenn Greenwald correctly comments on “the puny, broken, absurd state of Al Qaeda.”  As for America being a hyper-ultra-mega-super power that wages so much war on so many different fronts that it may have set a new standard for all of history, check out this article here.  And of course, there’s this from Prof. Stephen Walt showing the great imbalance in civilian deaths between the two sides.

Naturally, terrorism in the minds of most Americans is by definition violence committed by Muslims (see here).

As I stated before, I will include a more in-depth discussion of this poll on some other day.

Update I: I published a follow-up article here.

Bryan Fischer: No longer alone in Bigotry

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by loonwatch

GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain has revealed himself to be, for various reasons, the biggest bigot and buffoon in the race. He kicked up a firestorm with his recent comments on Fox News Sunday in support of the “right” to ban American mosques. Apparently, Cain thinks that freedom of religion means freedom to ban religions:

CAIN: They could say that. Chris, lets go back to the fundamental issue that the people are basically saying they’re objecting to. They’re objecting to the fact Islam is both a religion and a set of laws, Sharia law. That’s the difference between any one of our other traditional religions where it’s just about religious purposes. The people in the community know best, and I happen to side with the people in Murfreesboro.

WALLACE: You’re saying any community, if they want to ban a mosque?

CAIN: Yes. They have a right to do that. That’s not discriminating based upon religion.

Discriminating against Muslims is not discrimination because they’re Muslims! Kind of like the argument we hear from racists that discrimination against black people is not discrimination because black people are more likely to be criminals.

Many religious leaders took Cain to task for his comments, but not everyone. In fact, more than enough far right wingers are gleefully embracing his call to deny American Muslims their fundamental American rights.

Bryan Fischer is a Christian fundamentalist who is one of the loudest voices of intolerance on the right wing. For example, he has argued that Muslims should not serve in the military, law-abiding Muslim immigrants should be “sent back home,” and all American mosques should be banned:

Permits, in my judgment, should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.

Did you get that? Each Islamic mosque is “dedicated” not to the pillars of Islam (faith, prayer, charity, and fasting) but to the “overthrow of the American government.” As if all the Muslims of every denomination (Sunni, Shi’ite, Sufi, liberal, conservative, etc.) are acting with one will, one goal, like the Borg (resistance is futile, you will be assimilated). He must have read that somewhere in the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.

Anyway, it is this last point that has Bryan Fischer super excited: he is no longer alone in his Bigotry now that a big shot GOP candidate has legitimated his effort to ban all mosques. On what grounds can they so brazenly defy the First Amendment? The bogus talking point about Islam being a political ideology, not a religion:

In point of fact, in Islam the church IS the state. And since Islam allows no room for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of conscience and equal rights for women, it’s view of culture is so bizarrely un-American as to be dangerous and destructive to civilized society in all its forms.

This is quite ironic coming from a man whose goal in life is to impose his backward religious opinions on an unwilling society. Don’t mind our homegrown Christian fundamentalists who reject separation of church and state. They don’t count.

In reality, the Gallup polls of the Muslim world reveal the exact opposite of Fischer and Cain’s claims:

•Large majorities cite the equal importance of democracy and Islam to the quality of life and progress of the Muslim world. They see no contradiction between democratic values and religious principles.

•Political freedoms are among the things they admire most about the West.

•Substantial majorities in nearly all nations say that if drafting a new constitution, they would guarantee freedom of speech.

•Most want neither theocracy nor secular democracy but a third model in which religious principles and democratic values coexist. They want their own democratic model that draws on Islamic law as a source.

•Significant majorities say religious leaders should play no direct role in drafting a constitution, writing legislation, determining foreign policy, or deciding how women dress in public.

Another poll reports that less than 1% of Egyptians want the radical fusion of religion and state like Iran:

Egyptians… express little interest in recreating their country in the image of Iran, as has been the fear among some Western commentators. Less than 1% say the Islamic Republic should be Egypt’s political model, and most Egyptians think religious leaders should provide advice to government authorities, as opposed to having full authority for determining the nation’s laws. The majority of residents in the Arab world’s most populous nation desire a democracy informed by religious values, not a theocracy.

The numbers concerning Muslim attitudes toward women are equally destructive to Fischer’s arguments:

•Majorities in most countries believe that women should have the same legal rights as men: They should have the right to vote, to hold any job outside the home that they qualify for, and to hold leadership positions at the cabinet and national council levels

•Majorities of men in virtually every country (including 62 percent in Saudi Arabia, 73 percent in Iran, and 81 percent in Indonesia) agree that women should be able to work at any job they qualify for.

•In Saudi Arabia, where women cannot vote, 58 percent of men say women should be able to vote.

•While Muslim women favor gender parity, they do not endorse wholesale adoption of Western values.

So, while scientific polling of the Muslim world (not to mention American Muslims) reveals broad support for democratic principles, a rejection of theocracy, and support for women’s rights, that won’t stop the far right from parroting the thoroughly debunked but politically potent talking point that Islam is somehow uniquely anti-democratic, oppressive to women, and dangerous.

Bryan Fischer is the face of the grassroots prejudice to which Herman Cain is appealing and which will not likely be criticized by the rest of the GOP candidates. American right-wing politics has sunk to a new low. No longer is shredding the First Amendment considered fringe, crazy talk.

Fischer is not a lone anti-freedom bigot anymore. The GOP is right there with him.

Gallup Poll: Respect Key to Better Relations with Muslim World

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by loonwatch

Thought provoking study from Gallup and Dalia Mogahed.

Muslims worldwide say respect is key to better relations with U.S., West

ADELLE M. BANKS, Religion News Service

WASHINGTON — About half of Muslims surveyed worldwide believe the West does not respect them, according to a new Gallup report, and many say not desecrating the Quran and portraying more “accurate” Muslim movie characters could improve a strained relationship.

The findings are part of a report on “Measuring the State of Muslim-West Relations,” released Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010, at Gallup’s Washington headquarters.

“We also found that this concept of respect … now includes perceptions of fairness in policies, not just culturally sensitive language,” said Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

Fifty-four percent of Muslims said being treated fairly in policies that directly affect them would be a very meaningful demonstration of respect.
Mogahed said the “policies” were not defined in the new report, but past Gallup studies have found that respondents were particularly concerned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nearly three-quarters of Muslims polled said increased respect for the Quran and other religious symbols would be helpful. About half want to see Muslims portrayed more accurately by Hollywood.

Researchers found people across the globe — from the United States to sub-Saharan Africa — believe the tensions between Muslim countries and the West are mostly avoidable.

“This was especially true among people who saw the conflict as political in nature,” Mogahed said, “rather than caused by religious differences.”

In most of the countries surveyed, people said greater interaction between Muslims and the West is a benefit rather than a threat. In the U.S., 76 percent of individuals saw such interaction as beneficial, compared to 63 percent of Iranians.

Gallup researchers classified individuals as being “ready” or “not ready” for Muslim-Western engagement based on their attitudes about commitment to such relations, as well as perceptions of respect and of future conflict.
Researchers said religion plays a key role in readiness.

“For ‘Not Ready’ individuals, irrespective of whether they live in majority-Muslim or Western societies, religion is the factor most likely to be cited as being at the root of Muslim-Western tensions,” the report stated in its executive summary.

The report detected a religious paradox between the two sides: people in majority-Muslim societies who were considered “ready,” and those in the West who were “not ready,” were both more likely to have attended religious services in the past week.

The findings are based on interviews with more than 100,000 in more than 55 countries between March 2008 and May 2010.

 

Survey Reveals Muslims are More Integrated into Europe than Previously Thought

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2009 by loonwatch

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The Muslim Demographic threat conspiracy theory takes another hit in Europe with a new Gallup poll that came out recently revealing that Muslims in Britain, Germany and France are well integrated into their communities. (Hat tip: Syed) The report by Gallup and the Coexist Foundation says 77% of British Muslims identified with the UK, compared with 50% of the general public. There was a similar finding in Germany, the survey says.

Survey Reveals Muslim Attitudes

European Muslims have much more loyalty to the countries they live in than is generally believed, a survey says.

The report by Gallup and the Coexist Foundation says 77% of British Muslims identified with the UK, compared with 50% of the general public.

There was a similar finding in Germany, the survey says.

The authors say their report counters a commonly-held view that measures to combat Islamic militancy may have alienated many European Muslims.

“This research shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration are wide of the mark,” said Dalia Mogahed of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and co-author of the report.

“European Muslims want to be part of the wider community and contribute even more to society,” she said.

The findings of the report are surprising, because since the 11 September attacks in the US commentators have repeatedly questioned the loyalties of European Muslims to the countries they live in, the BBC’s Rob Broomby says.

The research – which focused mainly on European Muslims in Britain, France and Germany – polled around 500 Muslims and 1,000 members of the general public in each country.

‘Isolated’

In Britain, the report found that more than three-quarters of Muslims identified with the country and its institutions – far more even than the general population did.

But whereas the vast majority of British Muslims (82%) felt Muslims were loyal citizens, the general public remained suspicious of them.

In Germany, 40% of Muslims identified with the country against 32% of the wider public.

German Muslims were also found far more likely than the general public to have confidence in the judicial system, financial institutions and the honesty of elections.

They had higher levels of confidence in their national government than society as a whole, but much less faith in the media.

In France, 52% of Muslims identified with the country, compared with 55% of the general public.

However, the report found that French Muslims had much less confidence in the nation’s institutions, including police.

The survey also said that European Muslims felt far more isolated than those living in the United States and Canada.