So often we hear that the “vast majority of Muslims are peaceful.” While that is certainly true, the claim doesn’t go far enough. Many years ago, William Kirkpatrick wrote about “The Vast Majority Myth.” He countered this idea with three propositions.
The first proposition is that “the vast majority of people are peaceful, until they’re not.” It is easy to find examples of people who were peaceful for a long time and then quickly turned violent. The vast majority of Hutus were behaving peacefully before the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. By years end, the Hutu managed to kill about 800,000 Tutsi using clubs and machetes. The vast majority of Europeans were behaving peacefully prior to World War I. All of that changed in 1914 when the nations of the world went to war with each other.
The second proposition is the reality that the vast majority of people will go along with the flow. The majority of the Hutu went with the flow. This proposition is especially true in Islam. Most Muslims (especially in this country) would just like to be left alone. They want to go about their business of earning an income and raising a family.
Kirkpatrick says that one of the built-in features of Islam is that you won’t be left alone. It forces you to be good. And the way to be good is to conform to sharia law. This is especially true in a country that not only has sharia law but has also established a caliphate.
The third proposition is that a majority of people in any society are women and children. Although some Hutu women took part in the slaughter of Tutsi, it is true that the vast majority did not. That is little comfort to those who were slaughtered. Most jihadists and suicide bombers are men, but there are some women and children that participate. While it is true that the vast majority aren’t jihadists, that makes little difference in terms of the terrorist danger to me and you.