Wednesday, May 23, 2007

This is Reassuring?

A study newly released by the Pew Research Center has some interesting statistics to ponder with respect to the Muslim population in the United States. Newly-released figures indicate that nearly 80% of all Muslim Americans feel suicide bombings in defense of Islam is unacceptable. Eighty percent sounds pretty good, but then when you're dealing with a large population, say in the several millions, that would mean there's a substantial number of respondents to a poll who indicated that they feel such bombings can be justified.

The study assures its readers that most Muslim Americans represent just another facet of normalcy; moderate in outlook, mainstream in thought and action, largely assimilated into the American way of life. American values are primarily their values. They feel, by and large, content with the lives they lead in the United States. They work hard and realize economic stability for themselves and their families.

The income and education levels approximate those of most other Americans. In short, in most respects, Muslim Americans are no different than any other group of American citizens. What does set a significant proportion aside in the 'difference' category is the (admittedly limited!) support for suicide bombings. Suffice to say that twenty-percent of several million represents a significant demographic, a worrying reality. We're talking, after all, of thousands of suicide-bomber supporters.

How many dedicated, determined people would it take, in reality, to wreak very real havoc in the larger society by a disillusioned, defensive and pathological counter-culture? Twenty percent is no trifling figure, it's a quite astonishing percentage of American citizens who feel justified in their support of terrorism, the murder of others in defense of a religion, an ideology, a way of life. Doesn't sound very reassuring to me that such a significant number of individuals feel a communion with fanatical Islamists.

The view that suicide bombings can be supported in principle is represented most highly among those younger than 30. But isn't it that age group that is most susceptible to enticement to join with the cause for jihad to begin with? Isn't it that age group that represents most eager 'martyrs' to the cause? The estimate is that there are approximately 2.35 million Muslim Americans.

The results of this poll are troubling.

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