Violence, Terrorism, and Islam


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When it comes to violence, there are a handful of topics I am asked about the most. That list includes gun control, protecting your kids, women’s self-defense, dealing with knives, and terrorism. It is that last one I want to address in this essay.

As those of you who have followed my work know, I am an absolute believer in data driven, reality based, pragmatic approaches. But before I lay that out for you, I’d like you to do me a favor. Watch this short, 14 minute, video. It features the very brave Raheel Raza, who presents some of the key facts I believe are essential knowledge, if we are going to have an honest understanding of this subject.

Back to the original question, to what degree should anyone concerned about personal self-defense, be worried about terrorism?

Unless you live in an Islamic nation, a country in the midst of civil war, or both, terrorism doesn’t warrant much ‘personal’ concern – outside of your civic duties to vote and be involved in world affairs.

Attacks like the one recently in Paris are hard to stop, in part, because they’re hard to predict. We know they will happen. But knowing when and where they will happen, after all that aspect of the unknown is what makes them so ‘terrifying’, is a different story. Why? Because, in the West, Europe, and especially the United States, they are still, statistically – very rare. Like mass shootings, they make for good headlines and TV ratings, which doesn’t mean the commonly happen to people, it just means that people are commonly fascinated by them happening.

The truth is, when it comes to practical, personal, self-defense, your biggest threat is always the creep you know; a relative, lover, family friend, or acquaintance. Most children are killed by a step-father, or mom’s boyfriend. Half of all women murdered in the United States are killed by their husbands; another third, by their boyfriends. And a little less than half of all murders in the United States over the last 30 years have been young black men, under the age of 35, who are killed by other young black men. Young men they know. In fact, murder at the hands of a young black male is the leading cause of death among black American males under the age of 35. A staggering fact when you stop to consider it.

Only about 20% of all homicide victims are killed by people they didn’t know, or just met.

Where does terrorism rank on that stranger danger murder chart?

It doesn’t.

Like mass shootings, you’re more likely to die because you’re crushed by furniture than you are a terrorist attack. Half of you reading this will probably die of heart disease or cancer. For those who die younger, car accidents, drug overdoses, and suicides will rank as the biggest culprits. In fact, more Americans die every year falling out of bed than are killed by long guns, shotguns, or ‘assault rifles’.

Terrorism, mass shootings, and asteroid strikes, shouldn’t keep you up at night.

However, and this is where terrorism does come in to the conversation – personal self-defense and public policy concerns are very distinct things. I am strong believer in individual responsibility. Self-defense is your individual responsibility. And if you’re a father or the head of a family, keeping them safe is also your sacred duty. However, unless you currently serve in the government, handling public policy decisions that relate to national defense are not, unlike your own family’s safety – your obligation. I want you to be concerned about the degenerates you let into your house, not the degenerates who run nations. Let the President worry about Putin. For law enforcement, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the military, and our elected officials, terrorism is a very real concern for one important reason – scale.

While true that so far, the odds of you being killed by a terrorist are very low – it is also true that there exist many people in this world who would, if they could, walk into the center of your own city and set off a nuclear bomb – killing millions. What’s more, we know that they’re actively trying. That scale of death is one of two reasons that terrorism ranks as one of the most important public policy issues facing any responsible, thoughtful, and sane people.

The second reason is the fact that the number of people who would support such large-scale slaughter, number not in the hundreds, or the thousands, or even the hundreds of thousands, but the tens of millions. They are known as fundamentalist Muslims. And while that remains a provable fact, it is a provable fact that some people don’t want you to know.

President Obama has stated publicly that 99.9% of all Muslims do not support the kinds of attacks against civilians we see happening every day, all over the world, at the hands of Muslim extremists. He has also stated that groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Quds force, to name but a few – are ‘not’ real Muslims. But is any of that true?

Let’s take a look at the facts.

Currently, Islam is the fastest growing religion on the planet, with over 1.6 billion people who call themselves Muslims.

What do they believe?

Is it truly out of step with civilization, or is it true that, as the President said, 99.9% of them believe the same things most of us do about law, civility, human rights, and morality?

Here is what we know.

Sharia law is Islamic law, and it is viewed as a direct expression of the one true god’s will – Allah. Here are 5 common punishments from sharia – things commanded and actually used everyday within Islamic Nations:

1- People who drink alcohol or gamble should be ‘whipped’.

The Prophet felt it hard (was angry) and ordered all those who were present in the house, to beat him [the drinker dragged into Muhammad’s presence]. (Bukhari, Punishments, nos. 6774—6775)

2- Husbands can, and in some cases should, hit their wives.

4:34 . . . If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (MAS Abdel Haleem, the Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)

3- Eyes should be removed, and hands cut off – for punishment.

5:45 And We ordained therein for them: Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers . . .). (Hilali and Khan, The Noble Qur’an, Riyadh: Darussalam, 1996)

5:38 Cut off the hands of thieves, whether they are male or female, as punishment for what they have done—a deterrent from God: God is almighty and wise. 39 But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, God will accept his repentance: God is most forgiving and merciful. (Haleem)

4- Women found guilty of adultery should be buried up to their neck, and have rocks thrown at their face and head (stoning) until they are dead.

Muslim (17:4206) – A woman who became pregnant confesses to Muhammad that she is guilty of adultery. Muhammad allows her to have the child, then has her stoned. The description is graphic: “Khalid b Walid came forward with a stone which he flung at her head and there spurted blood on the face of Khalid and so he abused her.”

Muslim (17:4192) – This hadith clarifies the different penalties for adultery (when the subjects are married), and fornication (when they are not): “in case of married (persons) there is (a punishment) of one hundred lashes and then stoning (to death). And in case of unmarried persons, (the punishment) is one hundred lashes and exile for one year” (See also 17:4191)

5- People who leave the faith, who stop being Muslim, should be murdered.

Quran (4:89) – “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”

Bukhari (52:260) – “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ “

I’ve intentionally kept my list to 5, but we could have also included other things like honor killings, the practice of murdering your daughter because she had sex, and many more gems of theocratic wisdom and love.

All of sharia, a system where a women’s testimony is never worth that of a man’s, is backwards and gruesome. Given that this is what sharia is, what is commanded within the scripture, and more to the point, what is actually done within many Islamic theocracies, I would like you to think about the following questions.

Would you, as a modern citizen of the western world, find it appropriate to strip people down and whip them with bullwhips for being drunk, or betting on Sunday afternoon football?

Would you find it appropriate to beat your wife, assuming she doesn’t ‘obey’ you?

Would you find it appropriate to chop the hand off of a 12-year-old boy who was found shoplifting in Wal-Mart?

Would you find it appropriate to bury a woman who was found to be having an affair, up to her neck in the dirt, and then gather in a group with your village buddies and throw heavy rocks at her face until she was dead?

Would you find it appropriate to murder someone because they stopped being Muslim? Perhaps they converted to Christianity, or god forbid, became an atheist. Should they then be hung by the neck until dead?

I’m going to take a stab in the dark assume that you, as a normative human being who isn’t a psychopath, answered ‘no’ to everything above. In fact, I’m going to guess that most all of you find these kinds of propositions not just wrong, but revolting. So here is our question. Is President Obama right in saying 99.9% of Muslims would answer the same?

No – according to polling, a large percentage of Muslims in the world want to impose sharia law.

An average of 53% of the Muslim populations within the countries surveyed by Pew, support sharia, as the law of the land.

That translates to 469 million people.

The data, in PDF format

However, based on actual population sizes (i.e., the sum of the Muslim populations of each country surveyed by Pew multiplied by the average for that particular country), the number is 620 million people.

Let’s stick with the lower, 469 million number, keep in mind what sharia means, keep in mind how sharia is implemented, and then consider the fact that 469 million Muslims – want it.

To be clear, not all agree with the severity of the punishment. For example, while the majority of all Muslims believe apostasy to be a crime, only about 79% – 86% of the Muslims within the nations PEW polled, places like Pakistan and Afghanistan, believed they should be murdered for it. And to be fair, when we average all Muslims worldwide that were polled, the number that think murdering apostates is appropriate drops to 27% – a mere 276,000,000 people.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Even within the United States, a nation which seems to have the lowest percentage, especially when compared to its European counter-parts, of fundamentalist Muslims, 26% of American Muslims between the ages of 18-29 believe that the suicide bombings of civilians, innocent men, women, and children – can be justified.

So here is what the data tells us. The number of Muslims around the world who claim to believe that throwing rocks at a women until she is dead, because she had an affair, that killing another human being because they no longer believe in Islam, or that sending someone strapped with explosives into a crowded shopping mall – is justified, numbers somewhere between two hundred million and six hundred million, depending on where you ask.

Do you share those values with them?

Does Ben Affleck?

Do most of the folks who mindlessly repeat the fallacy that Islam is a religion of “peace”, and that the kind of brutality we listed above has “nothing to do with Islam”, have any idea how wrong they are, or the kind of atrocities and oppression they are defending?

I don’t think so.

Hanlon’s razor is useful here, and might save us from a bit of unnecessary bitterness. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” I would even go a step further and say that in many cases ‘stupidity’ isn’t the appropriate term, but ‘ignorance’ most certainly is. Affleck isn’t stupid. But his emotional, misguided, and self-righteous display of ignorance on this topic, served as the perfect foil for a calm, rational expert on this issue, like Sam Harris. It helped to get the information out there.

Now it should go without saying, but doesn’t, that of course, most Muslims are good people.

Most humans are good people.

Of course criticism of Islam isn’t racist.

Islam isn’t a race – it is an ideology, a superstition.

And of course the majority of Muslims don’t want to end their life by strapping explosives to their body and walking into a pre-school.

But none of that changes the reality that President Obama was wrong. It isn’t .1% of the Muslim population that supports policies, laws, and cultural practices that are rightly considered disgusting. In many cases the true number is closer to 50%. And let’s be honest, that’s not even close.

So when it comes to terrorism and personal self-defense, here is my advice.

As an average American or European citizen who isn’t directly involved in law enforcement, the military, or national defense, is Islamic terrorism something you should be worried about as it relates to your personal self-defense?

No.

Keep your eyes on the creeps you know, and the everyday violent criminal actors that plague every town.

As an average American or European citizen who isn’t directly involved in law enforcement, the military, or national defense, is Islamic terrorism something you should consider when casting a vote?

Yes.

You can’t solve a problem you won’t admit exists. President Obama knows full well how dangerous Islamic fundamentalism is. He’s been responsible for killing more of these terrorists than any President in history. But for whatever reason, he’s decided not to be honest about the nature of, and numbers involved in, this problem. And that leaves many people, like Ben Affleck, clueless as to what’s really happening in our world.

Who is hurt the most by that ignorance?

Who pays the biggest price when someone like Ben Affleck defends Islam?

Not us.

Not the western world. It’s the poor, the gay, the secular, and above all else, the female population of these Islamic nations who will suffer, and suffer horribly, as comfortable western apologists keep repeating the great lie – that Islam is a religion of peace.