WND Uses 9/11 to Attack Gallup Poll on US Muslims

As expected, WorldNetDaily is using the anniversary of 9/11 to whip up some resentment against American Muslims, with a distastefully slanted take on a new Gallup report entitled Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future.

We begin with the headline, which is currently the lead story for WND‘s 9/11 coverage:

Guess who thinks they are the victims
Poll also reveals demands for U.S. to make group feel more welcome

This is obviously meant to convey the idea that the report shows American Muslims belittling the suffering of 9/11 and making aggressive demands for privilege. But here’s what the executive summary actually says:

While they continue to experience some perceived bias, both in their interactions with other Americans and in their exchanges with law enforcement, Muslim Americans are satisfied with their current lives and are more optimistic than other faith groups that things are getting better.

That’s hardly wallowing in victimhood, let alone at the expense of terror victims. The “demands”, meanwhile, are actually a fairly pedestrian list of recommendations.

WND rambles on:

…It explains that 83 percent of the Muslim American respondents view the U.S. effort to stamp out the source of terrorism in Iraq as wrong, while 47 percent say it was wrong to respond with troops in Afghanistan to try to eradicate the terror threat there.

Two-thirds say America’s unpopularity in majority-Muslim countries can be blamed on American actions and 92 percent say they do not sympathize with al-Qaida.

Further, 93 percent of Muslims see Muslim Americans as loyal to their country, but they also believe they often are the victims of “intolerance” even while they are “among the most tolerant of U.S. faith groups studied.”

In fact, the report found that higher number of American Muslims considered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to have been a “mistake”. WND‘s gloss on this – that this is due to opposition to efforts “to stamp out the source of terrorism” – appears nowhere in the report, and has simply been added to imply that American Muslims support terrorism.

The report’s idea of “tolerance” is based on behaviour and general attitudes:

Albert L. Winseman,2 developed the Religious Tolerance Index in 2002 with Gallup scientists Dr. Jim Harter and Julie Hawkins to measure Americans’ attitudes toward religious faiths that are different from their own. The index is based on respondents’ level of agreement with the following five statements on a scale of “1” (strongly disagree) to “5” (strongly agree):

• I always treat people of other religious faiths with respect.
• Most religious faiths make a positive contribution to society.
• I would not object to a person of a different religious faith moving next door.
• People of other religious faiths always treat me with respect.
• In the past year, I have learned something from someone of another religious faith.

WND, by contrast, would prefer an approach based on quote-mining violent passages from the Koran:

But where’s their opinion about Shariah law in the United States, and just exactly what do they think the Quran says about “infidels?”

WND also brings in quotes from Robert Spencer, who complains that the report discussed American Muslims’ increasing sense of affluence:

But that is “totally irrelevant,” said Spencer. “The question itself proceeds from the assumption that poverty causes terrorism. Thus, if the Muslims in the United States are not poor, then they’re going to be moderate.

“We’ve seen again and again that there is no connection between poverty and terrorism. Actually jihadi terrorists are actually wealthier than their counterparts and better educated,” he said.

However, the “the question” doesn’t appear in the report at all: it’s concerned with overall Muslim attitudes, not why and how some Muslims become radicalised. It should be recalled that this is the same Robert Spencer who enthuses over clownish pseudo-studies by David Yerushalmi.

Much of the WND report goes on build a conspiracy theory about the report’s authors and the fact that the report come from the “Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the newly established Abu Dhabi Gallup Center”.

Of course, any report has its limitations: this one generalises Muslims in a way that may obscure trends or specific locations where there may be cause for concern. However, if it’s truly seriously flawed, why the need to lie about it and distort its contents?


Note: I did give some thought as to whether my blog post for today ought to be a reflective piece on the massacre of ten years ago. However, I can’t claim to have any special insights that are not shared by anyone else of any decency, and it’s clear that charlatans like Joseph Farah see the day as an opportunity to rabble-rouse rather than to pause for thought. Consequently, I decided to stick to doing what I do best.