The phrase “not all Muslims are terrorists” seems to get thrown about a lot. More often than not it is used to defend Muslims against prejudice attacks from those accused of “Islamophobia”. However, some of those who are slightly more apologetic for Muslims, but critical of Islamic influence in terror attacks, will resort to a statement like – “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim”. The first part is quite obviously correct, however the second part “all terrorists are Muslim” is just as much of a misconception as believing that all Muslims want to cut your head off or set you alight.
Firstly, many people may hold such preconceptions when they view terrorist attacks in the news and see that most of the incidents reported are caused by Muslims. Examples of this could be – 9/11, the 7/7 attacks, the killing of Lee Rigby, or the Charlie Hebdo massacre which occurred earlier this year. The fact that the perpetrators are Muslim would stand out more than anything. It’s a factor which people are likely to notice, as the perpetrators would be seen as alien to many non-Muslim viewers,; it is one that sticks in people’s minds. And of course, if it’s an opportunity to create a story which would sell, then the media would jump at this idea to promote the fact that they are Muslim.
According to statistics from Europol, out of all terrorist attacks monitored in all of Europe 2013, only 2% of them were motivated by Islam. This should give the reader a more balanced view of how much terror in the West that Islam can actually be held accountable for. However, Europol also added that “Islamic terrorists still aim to cause mass casualties”.
The death toll caused by the religion’s extremist groups, and attacks occurring on a global scale, paint a different picture however. According to a report last year by the Global Terrorism Index,18,000 deaths occurred from terrorist attacks, and 66% were caused by the Islamic fascist groups ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and Al Qaeda. In 2013, 60% of all terrorist attacks, and 80% percent of deaths caused by terrorism occurred in just five countries – Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. All of these (besides Nigeria) being Muslim majority countries.
A report by the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) showed that, in 2011, there were 10,283 terrorist attacks worldwide, in which 12,533 lives were taken. In approximately 57% of these attacks, and 70% of deaths, Sunni Muslims were held responsible.
Two sides of the story have now been presented. While the threat of Islam in the West appears to have been blown out of proportion by certain parts of the media, and the phrase “all terrorists are Muslim” has been proven false, there is still a high rate of carnage caused by those following the religion in other parts of the world – specifically more concentrated in a few select countries in the world, where strict Islamic law is a fundamental part of society.