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June 14, 2016

Timely Recall of Huffington Worldpost Op-Ed: More Acts of Jewish Terrorism than Muslim Terrorism in the United States


In the wake of a horrific Islamist inspired massacre, its important to remind readers of the mindset that exists in certain quarters of the media culture. On December 9, 2015, The World Post, a "Partnership of the Huffington Post and the Berggruen Institute" published an article by a self-described Palestinian-American humanitarian-student named Omar Alnatour titled, "Muslims are Not Terrorists: A Factual Look at Terrorism and Islam."

Alnatour condemns all acts of terrorism and his tone is moderate. The problem here is the absurdity of the piece and what it reveals about the contempt Huffington Post editors and the publisher must have for their readership.

We can start with title of the piece. The author introduces his subject by refuting a strawman argument. No reasonable person would seriously offer the equation that simply being Muslim means you are a terrorist.

In order to tear apart his strawman, Alnatour provides the following "facts":

According to the FBI, 94% of terrorist attacks carried out in the United States from 1980 to 2005 have been by non-Muslims... According to this same report, there were more Jewish acts of terrorism in the United States than Islamic, yet when was the last time we heard about the threat of Jewish terrorism in the media?

The study quoted by the author is from an outdated FBI tally of incidents up to 2005. it is a classic example of the misuse of information. The Jewish terrorist acts come almost entirely from the 1980s and involve relatively minor incidents in which few people were hurt. In fact, the report shows the single largest offender in terms of number of acts was a radical animal rights group that perpetrated numerous acts of vandalism against government laboratories. If one bothers to look at the data with any integrity, it is immediately evident that the mass casualty incidents overwhelming were perpetrated by Islamist terrorists, secondarily by rightwing racist extremists. And crucially, this list only goes up to 2005. Since 2005, terrorism has been overwhelmingly committed by Muslims as evidenced by the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list, which is made up almost entirely of Islamists. A larger list of one hundred international terrorists consists exclusively of Islamists.

It is a sad indicator of the current state of the humanities in American universities that the distorted report that attempts to decieve readers about the source of terrorism by misusing information contained in the outdated FBI report comes from a study at Duke University.

The author continues;

There have been 140,000 terror attacks committed worldwide since 1970. Even if Muslims carried out all of these attacks (which is an absurd assumption given the fact mentioned in my first point), those terrorists would represent less than 0.00009 percent of all Muslims. To put things into perspective, this means that you are more likely to be struck by lightening in your lifetime than a Muslim is likely to commit a terrorist attack during that same timespan.

CAMERA posting author's interjection: One thing this CAMERA author has noted over the years is that simplistic, over-the-top articles (the sort that one routinely finds in publications like the Huffington Post) often try to bolster their credibility by including precise-sounding figures. Invariably these are either fabrications (often pulled from other falsified sources) or figures carelessly gleaned from serious reports that are misunderstood, taken out of context and misused by the frenzied writer. It's an age-old tactic borrowed from conspiracy theorists, Holocaust deniers and their ilk. An associated feature is that scrutiny of the figures often reveals flawed computation. Political agitators, especially the radical variety, often treat numbers the same way they treat other facts, flinging them around with reckless abandon. That is the case here. The "percent of all Muslims" provided by the author is too small by a factor of 100 (he forgot to correct for percentage calculation). But of course the entire analogy is absurd.

The author doesn't stop there with his new math. The next percentage he offers - the number of American homicide victims who were killed by Muslims is even more ludicrous. The author continues,

If you are scared of Muslims then you should also be scared of household furniture and toddlers: A study carried out by the University of North Carolina showed that less than 0.0002% of Americans killed since 9/11 were killed by Muslims... Based on these numbers, and those of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the average American is more likely to be crushed to death by their couch or television than they are to be killed by a Muslim. As a matter of fact, Americans were more likely to be killed by a toddler in 2013 than they were by a so-called “Muslim terrorist�?.

If roughly 15,000 Americans are killed each year (homicides), that amounts to about 225,000 since 9/11/2001. The author's figure of .0002% equals something less than 1, a fraction of a person.

I will not deny that terrorism is a real threat, it definitely is. However, it is extremely incorrect to associate the words “Muslim�? and “terrorist�? when literally all the facts implore you to do otherwise. The only way that we as Americans can defeat terrorism at home and across the world is by accurately targeting its root causes.

And pray tell, what are those root causes? No need to ask, Huffington Post readers all know what they are because they have been endlessly told.

When considering that the Huffington Post chose to publish this Op-Ed, it is important to recall the sanctimonious declarations of Huffington Post founder and namesake, Arianna Huffington, whose current bio says she serves on the board of The Center for Public Integrity:

So when it comes to the Huffington Post and other internet sources of news, basically we embrace journalistic values like accuracy, fact checking, and correct punctuation and grammar... I prefer to see what we’re doing as part of a new future, which incorporates the best of traditional journalists and the best of traditional journalists and other writers.


Posted by SS at June 14, 2016 01:43 PM


See this web page for a strong analysis of FBI terror statistics with an emphasis on Muslims.

Posted by: Ronaldo at June 15, 2016 10:32 AM

What I would like to know is what does the F.B.I.propose doing about those toddlers ?

Posted by: Erica Ling at June 19, 2016 05:12 AM

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