Using Statistics for Bigotry

Stupid Terrorism Stat

I found this table on a vile but (unsurprisingly) popular blog called The Religion of Peace. Get it?! The Muslims killed 2,996 Americans on 9/11, but only 1 Muslim-American was killed in response. I don’t know about these statistics. There have been other terrorist attacks, so I suspect we could up that number of Americans killed (some of which were Muslims). (Actually, they do increase the number: 3,106 currently.) And it seems to me that there were more Muslim-Americans killed in response. But the numbers don’t matter. I’ll grant them. The point is that this is an incredibly skewed way of looking at the results of 9/11.

George W Bush would never have had the political support to invade Iraq without the 9/11 attacks. As we know from Richard Clarke, in the first 24 hours after the attack — and for months afterwards — senior administration officials wanted to use the attacks as a pretense to invade Iraq. The Iraq War is a direct result of the 9/11 attacks, even though Iraq had nothing to do with those attacks. So we can’t even say that the Iraq War was a response to the 9/11 attacks. It was just an excuse. So if we want to look at Muslim vs anti-Muslim violence, we’ve got to look at the Iraq War.

The Iraq Body Count project found that between 112,000 and 123,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the Iraq War. So that’s at least 36 times as many Muslims killed as Americans. When you put it that way, it doesn’t look so good for the Americans. But I get it: there are lots of ways to do the accounting. But I’m pretty sure that the United States — with just slightly less in military spending than the rest of the world combined — will turn out to look pretty bad regardless of how you look at it. Or at least it will unless you decide to present data in an absurdly skewed way as The Religion of Peace has.

If you read the “About Us” page on their website, you will find out that it “is a pluralistic, non-partisan site concerned with Islam’s true political and religious teachings according to its own texts.” This goes back to the article I wrote the other day, Religions Reflect Not Define. Anti-Muslims just love to pick through the Quran and find whatever passages they can to make their case that Islam is a horrendous religion. The same thing can be done to pretty much any religion, and I’ll admit, that Quran has lots of great blood thirsty garbage in it. But just as very few Christians believe that homosexuals should be stoned to death, very few Muslims believe similar passages in the Quran.

None of this means much of anything except that there are a lot of bigots out there. It works the same way regardless of who is doing it or who it is being done to. The violence that we perpetrate is excused as defensive and thus justified; the violence that they perpetrate is unacceptable because it is aggressive. A handful of impotent guerrilla fighters is justification for a hundred thousand uniformed troops to kill thousands of civilians.

So the narrative that our friends at The Religion of Peace are offering is that the US was just minding its own business and we were attacked on 9/11. That’s a simplistic but acceptable claim. But then, we start two wars as a result — killing many tens of thousands of civilians. But we are the good guys! The people we killed were not in response to 9/11. They were just unfortunate casualties of war. The score is 2,996 Muslim murders and just one American murder. When people can’t take responsibility for their actions, they don’t grow. When countries can’t take responsibility for their actions, they die. It isn’t hard to see America dying.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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