New Pew Poll Undercuts Left's "Islamophobia" Card
By Joseph Klein
The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its groupies on the Left, such as the Center for American Progress (CAP), the ACLU, and the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender, have spun out a series of patently absurd conspiracy theories employing the "Islamophobia" canard, which are designed to intimidate critics of Islamic extremism into silence. The latest example of this vitriolic attack campaign is a CAP report titled "Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America."
However, the more these groups pursue this misguided agenda, the more they expose their ignorance with respect to both reality and the actual interests of the Muslim community. This is illustrated by the results of Pew Research Center's latest public opinion survey of Muslim Americans, released on August 30, 2011. These results confirm that Islamic extremism in the U.S. is a real problem – not something made up by so-called "Islamophobes" — and that many in the Muslim American community fault their leaders for failing to address it properly.
Thirteen percent of the Muslim Americans surveyed by Pew refused to rule out suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in all circumstances. The results broke down this way – 8% said that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are either "often" or "sometimes" justified to defend Islam from its enemies, and 5% were willing to entertain such terrorist tactics in "rare" circumstances. Extrapolating from the survey results, out of the estimated 1.8 million Muslim adults (18 or over) living in the United States in 2011, this means that nearly 150,000 Muslim Americans would appear to condone suicide bombing or other violence against civilians "often" or "sometimes," and another 90,000 would support it in "rare" circumstances.
Al Qaeda received the support of 5% of the Muslim Americans who were surveyed by Pew. Another 14% claimed they didn't know. Extrapolating from these survey results, 90,000 Muslim Americans are favorably disposed towards al Qaeda. Approximately 250,000 were not prepared to respond one way or the other.
Thus, though the percentages look small, the results in numbers are still a major cause for concern.
Another telling fact is that many Muslim Americans surveyed by Pew, who just want to live peacefully with their fellow Americans, are concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in their ranks and believe their national leaders have fallen short in dealing with the problem — the same leaders who condemn any criticism of Islamic radicalism as "Islamophobia."
Sixty percent of Muslim Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center indicated "concern about possible rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S." That percentage increases to 73% amongst all native-born Muslim Americans expressing such concerns – 78% amongst native-born Muslim American blacks.
About a fifth of those surveyed went further and said that there is a great deal or a fair amount of support for extremism in the Muslim American community. That rises to 32% amongst all native-born Muslim Americans – 40% amongst native-born Muslim American blacks.
Moreover, many Muslim Americans want bolder challenges from their leaders against Islamist radicals, not excuses. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed by Pew said that "Muslim leaders in the United States have not done enough to speak out against Islamic extremists." Only about a third said that Muslim leaders had done enough.
By lashing out against imaginary Islamophobes and pretending that Sharia law (including punishment for apostasy and blasphemy) is perfectly compatible with core American values such as freedom of religion and expression, CAIR, the Center for American Progress and their fellow professional drumbeaters are justifying the very Islamic extremism that truly moderate Muslim Americans say they abhor.
When Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, decided to hold hearings on the threat of Islamic radicalization within the Muslim American community, he was denounced by leaders of Muslim advocacy organizations and their supporters on the Left as an Islamophobe conducting a McCarthy-style witch-hunt. Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for CAIR, said, "These hearings have the potential to demonize Islam."
As Congressman King pointed out to Politico after the latest Pew survey was released, "I don't rely on polls, but the fact that 21 percent have seen extremism in their communities reinforces the need for the hearings."
King also made clear that "I've always said the majority of Muslims are good Americans. My concern is the small number of Muslims who can be radicalized."
In trying to deflect attention from the real problem presented by such extremism, Hooper and his cohorts are out of step with the concerns expressed in the Pew survey of the American Muslim community they claim to represent.
The disconnect between national Muslim American organizations and ordinary Muslim Americans also shows up in the results of an August Gallup poll released by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the newly established Abu Dhabi Gallup Center titled Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future: Examining U.S. Muslims' Political, Social, and Spiritual Engagement 10 Years After September 11. The Gallup poll found that just 12% of Muslim American men and 11% of Muslim American women say they feel like CAIR represents their interests. Other Muslim advocacy groups, such as the Islamic Society of North America, registered in single digits. When asked which of a list of national Muslim American organizations represents their interests, 55% of Muslim men and 42% of Muslim women say that none do.
But it is the advocacy group leaders' strident voices, not those of ordinary Muslim Americans trying to live their day-to-day lives, we always seem to hear. It is these leaders who are invited to the Obama White House, which echoes their whitewashing by refusing to even use the words "Islamic extremism" and "jihad" in references to terrorism inspired by Islamic ideology.
These leaders and their enablers are failing the Muslim American community by not taking responsibility for combating the rising Islamic extremism in their midst. Instead, by defaming the critics of Islamic extremism, reports such as "Fear, Inc." – and the Muslim advocacy groups and leftists who support its premises – are exacerbating the problem to the detriment of the Muslim American community and the great free country in which they live.