Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Muslims Overly Represented in World Terrorism

A frequent commenter disputed my assertion that world terrorism is predominantly Muslim. I suppose I could cite recent headlines from Somalia, the Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Chechnya, Indonesia, Thailand, and many others. I could cite attacks in New York, London, Madrid, Bali, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Kenya, the Netherlands, France, Turkey, Yemen, Israel, Algeria, the Palestinian Authority, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and the list goes on.

Go here to learn about the 8,387 deadly terror attacks since 9/11.

Then go here for a list of each of the hundreds of Islamic terrorist attacks during the past three months, and the number killed and injured in each attack.

Scroll down and you will find complete detailed lists of attacks for each year going back to 9/11.

It doesn't take much to make people fearful of Islamist militants. In the Netherlands, a film producer was assassinated for making a film critical of Muslim domestic abuse.

Years ago Sir Salmon Rushdie had a fatwa, a death sentence placed on his head by Ayatollah Khomeini because he wrote a book about the Quran's Satanic Verses. He has been fearful and under armed guard protection since because the fatwa can never be raised because Ayatollah Khomeini died without removing it.

The commenter's remarks about life in Western Europe lead me to believe he didn't know what he was talking about. I lived in the UK for over five years, in Turkey a year, Alice and I rode our bikes through Germany, England, Ireland, and Wales for four months, rode our bikes through Scotland, England, and Ireland for two months, and have vacationed in Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and soon will be in Hungary.

We spoke to many Western Europeans, particularly Germans since we both speak German and spent a lot of time there, and found much contrary to his statements.

One, social mobility is not as fluid as in the United States. One of many reasons is that it is difficult to start a business, or to expand one, because of the high taxes and labor regulations which make it difficult to downsize a workforce or adjust working hours, days, and duties.

Unemployment in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy is roughly 10%,twice as high as the US rate of 4.5%.

His rose-colored characterization of European life was at odds with reality:

"The precipitous rise in unemployment in Europe has caused huge social problems in recent years. The rupture of social cohesion, the marginalization of a large part of the labor force, and the fall in living standards for a significant number of European citizens have shaken the faith of Europeans in the European ideal, of "Social Europe," such that in some countries the supporters of Economic and Monetary Union now constitute a minority."

I also disputed his conclusions about the high poverty rate in the US. Median income in the US is a close second to Switzerland, and according to both the IMF and the CIA World Factbook, the US per capita GDP is behind only Norway and Ireland (very closely behind) as highest in the world among countries larger than a mid-sized city.

"(A comparison of US and European disposable incomes disclose that) those in the lowest 10% here have about the same disposable income as those in the lowest 10% in Europe. It's almost an exact tie. At the other end of the scale, the highest 10% here have much higher disposable incomes than the highest 10% over there. Are only the rich making out like bandits? Well, look at the middle guy (i.e., look at the median). The European in the middle makes only about 73% of what the American in the middle makes."

Here is the cite.

It makes great reading, and there is a lot more.

By the way, the Turkish military felt it had to make a statement recently to oppose the steady erosion of secularism in Turkey by Islamic fundamentalists.

During the year I lived in Turkey I found that religion played a much greater part in daily life there than it does in the US. Since then religion has steadily weakened here, and Islamists have been picking up political power there. The commenter said he would like to see a million march in the streets here because"...the president does not believe in the separation of church and state."

Of course the president does, but the prospective Turkish president didn't. It would be a waste of time for the million to march here, but Liberals always seem to have a lot of time on their hands for demonstrations.

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