17,000 “Islamic terrorist” attacks exist in fevered Islamophobic brains

by Sheila Musaji:

Robert Spencer objects to an MSNBC News Report by Michael Isikoff which discussed an increase in right-wing attacks over the past several years.  Spencer claims In this one, Isikoff claims that there has been a “surge” of “right wing attacks” in the last couple of years—since Obama has been president (racism implication noted). This is sheer Leftist fantasy; meanwhile, Isikoff and NBC completely ignore the very real and readily documented surge in jihad plots in the U.S. over the last two years.

Of course, any recognition that we face a serious problem from EXTREMISTS no matter what their ideological or religious underpinnings is an argument that Spencer must attempt to refute because it gets in the way of his paranoid delusion that all or most terrorists are Muslims. 

In a number of recent articles we can clearly see Spencer (and the rest of his Islamophobic cohorts who endlessly repeat each others anti-Muslim memes) newest meme.  Spencer makes the claim (as have others) that there have been 17,000+ Islamic jihad terror attacks since 9/11.  (He provides a link to a http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/).  Spencer then says:  Two non-Muslim terrorists: Tim McVeigh and, sixteen years later, Anders Breivik. And Scott Shane suggests that the “focus of counterterrorism efforts” should be shifted from Islamic jihadists to “the subculture of anti-Muslim bloggers and right-wing activists.”

Spencer also posted what he calls a “demonization roundup” in which he once again brings up this fake number of 17,000 Muslim terrorist attacks, but this time has upped his non-Muslim number to 4 – That’s four white male terrorists, versus 17,000+ jihad terror attacks since 9/11 committed by Muslim males (many of whom were white, by the way) and a handful of females. To the LA Times, the existence of those four is sufficient to refute the commonsensical call for the TSA to address the actual source of its troubles and reason for its existence.

Lies upon lies.  No matter how you define terrorism – Breivik and McVeigh are certainly not the only non-Muslim terrorists.  If this is the extent of Spencer’s research abilities, then any claims he makes to being a serious scholar of anything are pretty much undermined.
Spencer could go to legitimate sources to obtain factual information from which to make an informed decision about extremist and terrorist threats.

As Stephen Walt notes … according to the EU’s 2010 Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, the total number of terrorist incidents in Europe declined in 2009. Even more important, the overwhelming majority of these incidents had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.  The report is produced by Europol, which is the criminal intelligence agency of the European Union. In 2009, there were fewer than 300 terrorist incidents in Europe, a 33 percent decline from the previous year. The vast majority of these incidents (237 out of 294) were conducted by indigenous European separatist groups, with another forty or so attributed to leftists and/or anarchists. According to the report, a grand total of one (1) attack was conducted by Islamists. Put differently, Islamist groups were responsible for a whopping 0.34 percent of all terrorist incidents in Europe in 2009. In addition, the report notes, “the number of arrests relating to Islamist terrorism (110) decreased by 41 percent compared to 2008, which continues the trend of a steady decrease since 2006.”

Spencer could go to http://www.fbi.gov/ which is the site of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, you can access a great deal of information about terrorism in the U.S.  You can check out the FBI’s most wanted domestic terrorists.  There are 7 listed right now, and none seem to be Muslims.  You can check out their Domestic Terrorism In the Post-9/11 Era report. 

Spencer could check out numerous existing reports and surveys about terrorism, radicalization, and strategies to counter these that have been produced by respected governmental and academic organizations that clearly paint a very different picture of the facts.

Spencer could check out the ADL or SPLC data bases on terrorism and extremism. 

Spencer could check out our TAM collection of information on the topic titled Claim that all terrorists are Muslims ignores history.

Spencer could – but facts get in the way of propaganda.  Robert Spencer cites a rabidly anti-Muslim site called the Religion of Peace for his number of 17,000 terrorist attacks worldwide since 9/11.  That would be somewhat like citing a KKK or White Supremacist site for their information about Jews or African-Americans.  This site lists acts commited around the world – some in wars, some having nothing to do with Islam, but to do with nationalist or political struggles, some in civil wars.  No links are given.  No sources for any of this just a list of supposed attacks carried out by “Islamic terrorists”.  All of my suggestions for Spencer to check out contain lots of links and sources.

Spencer is entering this most recent meme into the anti-Muslim blogsphere, and it will be repeated by all the other Islamophobes, and they will quote each other as “experts” who agree with this number.  And, voila, another lie will become just one more “fact” that everyone “knows” about Islam and Muslims.

The Islamophobes regularly make such statements about the only danger being “Islamic terrorists” and then when faced with any evidence to counter their claims respond with the same tired arguments over and over – McVeigh is the exception that proves the rule, these Islamic supremacists will make the most out of this one Huttaree case, of course there is no moral equivalence as their terrorism is more dangerous, etc.

The truth is that the list of non-Muslim individuals and groups involved in extremist or terrorist acts is extensive.  There are hundreds of exceptions that prove the rule.  We know that Europol says that most terrorism in Europe is carried out by non-Muslims.  The same is true in the United States.  Attempting to focus only on one possible source of terrorism and excluding the others shows nothing except Islamophobic bigotry, and it makes none of us safer.