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Violent Muslims

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by Kerby Anderson

Franklin Graham in a recent commentary reminds us that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, but that is small comfort when we see so many attacks around the world by violent Muslims. He takes the time to help us understand how many of this violent minority there might be in this country.

The Pew Research Center asked Muslims in the United States under what circumstances “suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians is justified to defend Islam.” First, let’s look at the good news. They found that 86 percent say that such behavior is “rarely or never” justified. What about the rest?

Seven percent of Muslims in America told Pew that violence against civilians is “sometimes” justified, and one percent even went so far as to say the violence is “often” justified. While those percentages don’t sound like much, all you need to do it run the numbers. Franklin Graham says: “This means there are more than 100,000 Muslim adults living in this country who could justify a suicide bombing in the name of their religion.”

Of course that doesn’t mean that most of these Muslims would actually commit such an act. But it does highlight the fallacy of merely saying that most Muslims are peaceful. Yes, they are, but there is a significant minority who are not. As you might imagine, a higher percentage of Muslims in the Middle East believe suicide bombings are justified.

It is also important to remember that this is how Muslims are self-identifying to the Pew researchers. That suggests to me that the percentages might be much higher since many Muslims might be reticent to admit their belief about violence to a stranger who calls them on the phone.

We should be grateful that a majority of Muslims in this country are not violent, but that should not blind us to the reality that as many as 100,000 Muslim adults believe that violence could be justified against their fellow Americans.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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