The brutal, hate-filled slaughter of 50 Muslims in mosques in New Zealand garnered worldwide news coverage for days as the outrage was real and visceral. But the reaction belies a broader issue that is generally buried for ill-fitting the narrative: Muslims are not only extraordinarily safe in the United States, they are thriving.
First, it’s worth noting what some conservative sites have pointed out: While the world was rightly indignant over the New Zealand killings, the world and media seemed largely indifferent to the slaughter of three times that many Christians in one Africa country in a three-week period, or the 23 Christians killed by the Fulani, or the ongoing killing of Christians for being Christians around the globe — particularly by extremist Muslims. Here is an extensive example of that from The New American.
That is all true. Christianity is the most persecuted religion worldwide. Pretty much all agencies agree on that. There just isn’t much outrage as it is largely Islamist extremists doing the killing. Islamists kill even more fellow Muslims.
But there is another element to the difference in the coverage in New Zealand and in Africa, and some ears will not want to hear this: Killing people, particularly over religion or ideology, is wildly unacceptable in Christian and post-Christian countries in the West. It is far more accepted as just part of life in many other cultures, particularly Islamic countries. A lot of violent death can and does create a hardened acceptance.
Dutiful disclaimer: Islamists slaughtering the “wrong” kind of Muslims, along with any Christians and non-Muslims readily available to be killed, are not the majority of Muslims. In the West and particularly in the United States, violent Muslim extremists are a very, very small minority — perhaps the lowest in the world. But in some countries, from the Palestinian territories stretching through Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and back to Egypt and Libya, extremists and Islamists are very sizable minorities by their own self-professed opinions.
So in those countries where attacks against civilians are accepted by between 8 percent and 20 percent of the population (and between 90 percent and 100 percent of the population is Muslim) the violence is more common and more accepted, if not actually desired.
That is not the case in the United States or New Zealand or other western Christian or post-Christian countries. And it is far more rare. Despite all the blather about the rise of Islamophobia in the United States, more mass attacks are carried out by Islamists in the name of Islam than against Muslims. Far more.
Further, the United States is one of the safest countries, perhaps the absolute safest country, in the world to be Muslim and practice Islam.
In a report that came out last September by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change tracking the roots, spread and effects of violent Islamist extremism, researchers found that 121 terrorist groups sharing portions of an ideological form of Islam are now operating around the globe. Their deadly actions in 2017 alone resulted in the deaths of 84,000 people — about 22,000 of them civilians — in 66 countries.
Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in September that Islamist extremism is “global and growing,” adding that it “didn’t begin with al Qaeda; nor will it end with the defeat of ISIS.”
The “Global Extremist Monitor,” which was produced by Blair’s non-profit, used hundreds of news sources that reported on incidents of violent extremism in 2017. According to a CBS News report from the time:
“There were a total of 7,841 attacks – an average of 21 per day –in 48 countries, it said, with war-torn Syria topping the list of countries most affected by violent extremism. Overall, Muslims were the most frequent victims of deadly attacks. Twenty-nine violent Islamist groups were actively engaged in conflict in Syria in 2017, the report said, with ISIS responsible for 44 percent of all attacks. Half of all civilian fatalities recorded globally were documented in Syria.”
In a National Geographic article by a Muslim who is an NPR correspondent covering race and diversity (politics are more than obvious) we see that despite the best attempts to paint America as bigoted, Muslims that are not activists largely don’t think it is a big problem. The article, “How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America,” talked to a lot of Muslims around the country. Here is a tidbit:
“That’s what Musa loves about being Muslim in America: The rights of expression and worship are protected. Here, he says, he can choose to be the kind of person, the kind of American, the kind of Muslim he wants to be. He points to his shelves at his rustic home on a sheep farm. They’re filled with books written by Shiite and Sunni scholars, reflecting the many schools of thought under those two main Islamic sects. “This is the place to be a Muslim, scholarship without intervention,” he says. “In Malaysia I could go to jail because I have Shiite literature in my house, and in Malaysia that’s the equivalent of being a commie in America.””
So despite the hand-wringing by the media, Democrats and some Muslim activists, such as CAIR, the U.S. is not only one of the safest countries in the world to be a Muslim, but Muslims may also thrive here more than any other place when including overall freedoms and economic opportunities — all of which probably explains why the percentage of Islamists among American Muslims is so low.
Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
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