« SCIRI and Sistani | Main | On the Media: al-Hurra »

May 22, 2007

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c391553ef00d8357bd40369e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Muslim-Americans: what's important:

Comments

Dave Schuler

The critics are innumerate. In a normal Gaussian distribution you'll see 5% at two standard deviations out. You'll see that for all sorts of wacky things.

Craig

So, you are saying basically that we shouldn't worry about it if only 1 in 20 of Muslims living right here in the US thinks it's OK to suicide bomb the shit out of us, right?

I would generally agree with you that the survey results for US Muslims are good. But this itme about suicide bombing is certainly worth a mention. That is, after all, what the war on terror is about.

Alex

As Dave Schuler points out, 1 in 20 people believes all kinds of crazy shit. I wonder what the figure for the non-Muslim population is?

jr786

My difficulty is with the question itself: ""Can suicide bombings of civilian targets to defend Islam be justified?".

If Islam was genuinely threatened than the means of defending it, and Muslims, has to be considered in that light. If one were to ask Americans this question: "Can the bombing of civilian facilities be in defense of the United States be justified.?" I bet the response in favor would be a lot higher. After all, what would Americans consider to be 'extremism' in the defense of their own country? Certainly not the destruction of Iraq.

The inclusion of 'to defend Islam' is a critical question for the ummah, and was certainly addressed by al queda in their 2002 justification of 9/11. Any reading of the response to this question has to consider the notion of legitimate jihad that is implied in the question.

toasterhead

Posted by: Alex

If Islam was genuinely threatened than the means of defending it, and Muslims, has to be considered in that light. If one were to ask Americans this question: "Can the bombing of civilian facilities be in defense of the United States be justified.?" I bet the response in favor would be a lot higher.

Exactly! It seems like the only real issue Islamophobes have is the suicide part. Regular, old-fashioned homicide bombing of civilian targets is just fine, but when you add suicide to the homicide, there seems to be a problem.

Craig

"Can suicide bombings of civilian targets to defend Islam be justified?"

Excuse me, but this is bullshit. If you bring religion into it, then that is yet an additional reason why the number should be absolute ZERO. Nobody who actually believes in God can possibly believe the God wnats people to commit mass-murder of the innocent. Period. SO either Islam is a satanic religion, or people who believe such a thing are not Muslims at all.

The whole "defend Islam" argument has to go over the side.

Exactly! It seems like the only real issue Islamophobes have is the suicide part.

No, it's the whole "deliberate murder of the innocent" part, toaster. What's so hard to figure out about that? Go ahead take your poll... ask Americans (other than Muslims) if they think it's ever justified to deliberately murder innocent human beings. Lets see the results. This whole issue is about people's attitude is about murder. I know for a fact that you won't find any measurable percentage of people in the US who think murder is morally justified.

upyernoz

actually, the number of american muslims who say they approve of suicide bombing is less than the number of americans overall who approve of attacking civilians (the definition of terrorism). maybe american muslims are the least dangerous portion of american society.

toasterhead

From the study upyernoz cited:

"Respondents were then asked to think “in the context of war and other forms of military conflict” and to consider whether certain types of civilians could be a legitimate target. Overwhelming majorities of Iranians rejected as “never justified:” attacks on women and children (91%), the elderly (92%), and “wives and children of the military” (86%).

Americans largely agreed, though larger percentages in each case said such attacks were rarely justified. This was true for attacks on women and children (72% never, 15% rarely), the elderly (71% never, 16% rarely), and wives and children of the military (74% never, 12% rarely)."

So, again, it would appear that the problem is not the killing of innocent people, since more than one in four Americans believes that it is justifiable to kill women and children in certain circumstances.

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/jan07/Iran_Jan07_rpt.pdf

Craig

Toaster,

since more than one in four Americans believes that it is justifiable to kill women and children in certain circumstances.

Of course it is justifiable to kill women and children in some circumstances. If a man (husband and father) is in his house shooting at soldiers, in a war zone, and his wife and children are in there with him, that house and his wife and children are very likely to be targeted. Only a FOOL would say that soldiers should let themselves be killed just to avoid any possibilty of targetting women and children.

That is NOT the same as *deliberately* targeting completely innocent and uninvolved human beings for death.

I am having a GREAT DEAL of trouble understanding the comments here. Some of you are would-be murderers. You refuse to recognize the concept of "murder" at all. Is it so difficult to understand what murder is?

As for the pew survey, some of the results look very good. It's true. But that is an unacceptably high number of people who think murder is OK. I would be interested in seeing a breakdown by country of origin for the people who said suicide bombing was justifiable. I'm guessing most of them are Palestinians. Can we get that info anywhere?


upyernoz

craig,

i don't get it. you say:

"Of course it is justifiable to kill women and children in some circumstances" in response to a survey showing that a quarter of the american public thinks civilians can be legitimate targets.

how is that any different from the question in the pew survey? both surveys are asking about targetting civilians. and yet you excuse one but condemn the other. plus you imply that people who point out this inconsistency are "would-be murderers."

WTF? considering you're the one who said killing women and children is okay "in some circumstances" you seem to be the only person who's even close to justifying murder here.

toasterhead

If a man (husband and father) is in his house shooting at soldiers, in a war zone, and his wife and children are in there with him, that house and his wife and children are very likely to be targeted. Only a FOOL would say that soldiers should let themselves be killed just to avoid any possibilty of targetting women and children.

You must be a fool, then, because you're the only one suggesting that. The questions in both surveys have nothing to do with soldier self-defense or hypothetical situations. They both address the absolute morality or immorality of targeting civilians.

The exact question asked to Americans in the UMD study:
Some people think that bombing and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are sometimes justified while others think that this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that such attacks are often justified, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?

The exact question asked to American Muslims in the Pew study:
Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies. Other people believe that, no matter what the reason, this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?

Look familiar?

Craig

No, Toasterhead, it doesn't look "familiar" - and by the way, thanks for the quotes, I couldn't load that site because I'm not a subscriber, so the link was useless to me.

Why do the two questions look the same to you?

in order to defend Islam from its enemies.

That wording is a deal breaker. Full stop.

The questions in both surveys have nothing to do with soldier self-defense or hypothetical situations.

Question one in your previous comment:

are sometimes justified

Question two in your previous comment:

are sometimes justified

Both are asking for hypotheticals. The question is, what is the "hyopthetical" scenarior for an attack on innocents that is in defense of Islam, Toaster? It seems to me that the obvious hypothetical would be that such an attack would be justified against ANYONE WHO IS CONSIDERED BY SOME RANDOM FATWA SPEWER TO BE AN ENEMY OF ISLAM.

I say again: full stop!

toasterhead

Craig,

Okay - you make a good point. The wording is a deal-breaker. The Pew study actually gives a self-defense scenario for Muslims to justify attacks against civilians. I belive I can call it self-defense because to a Muslim, an attack on the religion is a deeply personal one, and nearly 80% STILL felt that attacks on civilians are never justified.

The PIPA study, on the other hand, gives Americans no scenario whatsoever. No "in defense of the United States" or "in defense of Christianity" or "in defense of our globalized economic system and bilateral trade agreements." It's essentially a blank check. More than half of Americans stated that they would support "bombing and other types of attacks" on civilians. Full stop. The justification could be a grilled cheese sandwich.

Eric Martin

Wait, one says in defense of Islam, and the other is silent as to motivation. But the one that mentions Islam is worse?

upyernoz

I couldn't load that site because I'm not a subscriber, so the link was useless to me.

i'm not a subscriber either. just get a day pass. it's free.

It seems to me that the obvious hypothetical would be that such an attack would be justified against ANYONE WHO IS CONSIDERED BY SOME RANDOM FATWA SPEWER TO BE AN ENEMY OF ISLAM.

why are you intepreting it that way? i mean, what if i asked you "is it ever justified to kill someone in defense of christianity?" if you answered "yes" does that mean you're saying you'll kill someone on the word of any random street corner preacher?

the "to defend islam" wording is a problem with the poll because it makes the answer more ambiguous. each respondent could have a completely different view of what "defending islam" means.

at the same time, you still haven't explained to me why you're not bothered by the other survey showing that an even greater percentage of americans approves of intentionally targetting civilian women and children. in reading your comments i am struck by the double standard you're applying here. when it's muslims answering the question, you assume the very worst (e.g. "RANDOM FATWA SPEWER" even though no such thing is in the question). why is that?

Azamatterofact

Marc Lynch asks for "a little context-please." I am not sure their is a "context" unless someone wants to say after another attack, "Sure they are all dead but on the bright side relatively fewer Muslims here are happy about it."

I would suggest that the two questions quoted by upyernos are very different in at least one respect. The UMD study uses the term "civilians" while the Pew poll uses the term "civilian targets" which has a very different connotation and could have lead to a higher rate of positive responses within the Muslim-American community.

Eric Martin

No, the UMD survey says: "attacks intentionally aimed at civilians..."

To suggest a difference between that construction and "civilian targets" is to attempt to split a hair on a flea.

Eric Martin

...and certainly not "very different"

Craig

Wait, one says in defense of Islam, and the other is silent as to motivation. But the one that mentions Islam is worse?

You bet your ass it is. If they asked Americans specifically if they thought it was OK to kill innocent civilians in defense of Christianity, I suspect you'd get quite a different result. Don't you think?

Toasterhead, see the above. When you give people free reign to decide if they can think of any situation where killing civilians would be justified, that's one thing. If you ask people if they think God wants civilians to be killed, that is something else entirely.

Eric Martin

You bet your ass it is. If they asked Americans specifically if they thought it was OK to kill innocent civilians in defense of Christianity, I suspect you'd get quite a different result. Don't you think?

I don't know. Further, if not Christianity, there are an awful lot of other reasons on par with religion that would generate commensurate numbers.

toasterhead

If you ask people if they think God wants civilians to be killed, that is something else entirely.

Yes. That is something else entirely. Neither survey uses those words, and God was not polled in either survey, so why do you even bring God's wishes into this discussion?

And I suspect you would get a different result if you specifically asked a sample of American Christians whether bombing and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians were justifiable in defense of Christianity. It would be interesting to see if Christian Americans are more or less likely than Americans in general and American Muslims to support murdering innocent civilians. My guess is that it'd be more likely. Perhaps that'll be something for the next Pew study.

upyernoz

craig,

you keep reading things into the pew study that aren't there. the survey doesn't ask whether respondent thinks god wants civilian to be killed. nor does it ask whether the respondent believes civilians should be targetted just because a "random fatwa spewer" says so.

each of you responses depends upon reading something into the survey that isn't in the question itself.

Craig

Toasterhead, what does "the defense of Islam" mean? What is ISLAM!? When people serve ISLAM, WHO DO THEY SERVE!? When Islam was brought into the discussion, God was brought into the discussion.

Nice commentators you have attracted to this blog, Marc.

I'm out of this discussion. I have no interest in having a debate with people who unashamedly support terrorism.

upyernoz

Toasterhead, what does "the defense of Islam" mean?

exactly, the question will mean different things to different respondents. that means there is a flaw in the survey and the meaning of this particular result is completely ambiguous.

I'm out of this discussion. I have no interest in having a debate with people who unashamedly support terrorism.

once again, you are the only person here who endorsed killing civilian women and children (and in the context, it was about targetting them, though to be fair, you may not have realized the context). no one else but you comes close to supporting terrorism.

and now you're going off in a huff just because people point out the inconsistencies of your own argument. oh well, it's not exactly adding to the credibility of your position.

Eric Martin

I'm out of this discussion. I have no interest in having a debate with people who unashamedly support terrorism.

Wow. That after chiding Marc for the commenters he's attracted. Unintentional self-parody?

Those of us who dared question some of Craig's premises now are "unashamed supporters of terrorism." That's some leap there Craig.

And apparently, our comments are so bad, HE has to leave the discussion.

As I said, wow.

The comments to this entry are closed.

google analytics


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Blog powered by Typepad