The Muslim world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters

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bv-djrlcmaa1qhy-1This study of British Muslims is something of a mixed bag, though the bad side is pretty disturbing. For example, 52% of British Muslims are unsure who was behind 9/11, 31% blame the US gov, only 4% blame al-Qaeda. Also, 40% support the implementation of shariah law. On the plus side, several measures of acculturation came in better than I would have expected, and young Muslims tend to rank things better than their elders, which bodes well for the future.

Our Western discourse on Islam always reminds me of this quote from Harry Potter: “‘Yes, but the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters,'” said Sirius.”

This quote reminds me of our national discourse on Islam, where the Muslim world is divided into the (genuinely) vast majority of Muslims who are not terrorists, and the tiny fraction who are. Such verbal prestidigitation is technically true, but ignores that fact that other equities exist in the world. For example, huge tracts of the “good” side support the imposition of shariah law and despise Western core values such as free speech, the rights of women, and pluralism. A smaller, but significant percentage also provide ideological and/or material support to the extremists.

This is the inconvenient truth we ignore with our simplistic dichotomy of terrorist/not terrorist.

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