The Myth of All Terrorists Are Muslim

Bad luck Muslims: they drew a deep sigh of relief when the Boston bombings turned out not to be done by a Saudi citizen… it turns out they were European Muslims who, ironically, are literally Caucasian. I guess racial profiling is out the question now?

I didn’t know that a simple comment on a BuzzFeed article from yours truly would spark a debate of over 50 comments and a hundred “likes.” The article in question was simply about the Islam leaning-Youtube page of one of the bombers. My comment was: how is this relevant?

Many sided with me. Many called me overly politically correct. Many others said that even though not all Muslims are terrorists, all the terrorists are Muslims.

If you ponder on that last statement, you are sure led to believe it’s true: the Boston Bombings, 9/11, etc…. However, it turned out to be the furthest thing possible from the truth.

There’s a hypocrisy when it comes to the categorization of “terrorism” in American media. For instance, the Aurora and Newton shootings were not carried out by a “terrorist” but by someone who was mentally unfit. If in a hypothetical scenario that person worshipped Allah instead of God, the “terrorist” label would have been used. Labels tend to stick.

The American and international media have been doing a “fantastic” job at highlighting select bits of acts of human violence and throwing them as representative of an entire sociological or religious aspect. Their portrayal of any violence that happens to come from Muslims tends to be sensationalized à la Middle Eastern way of reporting and, since their extent of knowledge regarding Islam and Muslims is very limited, it also comes off as ignorant. But not to those who take that media as scripture.

Moreover, the numbers to back up the “all terrorists are Muslim” claim is simply not there.

A study published by the FBI – could you get a better US-centric reference? – about the acts  of “terror” on US soil from 1980 till 2005 revealed approximately 318 terrorist attacks that varied in magnitude which break down in the following way:

Terrorism by event USA 1980-2005

Luckily enough, the numbers and data in that study have been turned into a pie-chart (here) that categorizes all the terrorist attacks by religion/ethnicity/background:

Terrorism Islam USASure, many things happened since 2005. But not all of those things were from Muslims. The above percentages may have fluctuated slightly but they’re still representative. For instance, Jewish extremism has over a period of 25 years committed more acts of terror in the United States than Muslims had. Now isn’t that interesting? Did any American know about this or is it hail-Israel and bomb-the-Muslims all the way?

To back this up even further, CNN published a study about the threat of Muslim-American terrorism. The study was done by Duke University and the University of Chapel Hill and found that the supposed danger of the radicalizing of Muslim-Americans post 9/11 has been severely exaggerated. The level is “small compared to other violent crime in America, but not insignificant.”

Violence Begets Violence:

The more societies across the world shut out, categorize and work against people just because they wear a headscarf or pray in a different way, the more these people will find refuge in doctrines that may not represent their true beliefs. The actively-fueled verbal, moral or even social violence only serves to increase the physical violence of those on the other side of the equation. There could be a linear relation there. Sure, the aforementioned premise is an over-simplification but talking about Saudi or Qatari policies of exporting radical Islam coupled with American policies in the region which help fuel this export will take forever.

Is there a growing trend of radicalizing in Islam? I only need to look at samples across my country to say the answer is yes. But fighting this growing radicalization doesn’t happen by clumping those who haven’t fallen prey to erroneous indoctrination with those who have anti-American, anti-West or anti-non-Islam agendas.

The whole point is: political correctness is perhaps something that we need in a time when it’s very easy to judge and lump people in a batch of stereotypes just because we think we know everything there is to know about them, especially when said-political correctness isn’t really coming from a higher moral ground as much as it’s emanating from actual reality.

Empathy isn’t a one-way street. Those terrorist Muslims are the ones dying in the tens and hundreds daily across the world today and it’s not only because they’re fighting among each other.

So next time someone wants to “kill all the Muslims,” know this: not all Muslims are terrorists and it’s a certainty that not all the terrorists are Muslims – not even half of them.

PS: A note from all those big bad Muslims to the people of Boston:

Boston Bombings Syria

6 thoughts on “The Myth of All Terrorists Are Muslim

  1. Anyway Boston bombers are muslims and islamists that’s a fact their motive has great chances to be religious you can not deny that… Btw theres a big difference between the bombings of the JLD ( who comitted the total 7% of that ‘jewish terrorism’ and are considered terrorists by many countries Israel included ) and the diverse bombing and terror acts that come from muslims individuals or groups who aim at destroying all non muslims, much more threatening, but if you wanted to create a surprise effect, congratulations!


  2. This all looks very comprehensive Elie but I must say I really don’t get the point of this post.

    For someone who calls for political correctness you are not a world star at applying cultural sensitivity to Americans at times “the West” (which if I remember correctly you mean to use for America not Europe+America).

    Now unlike Zeitoun I don’t wish to downplay the actions of the JDL and its quasi-fascist leader Meir Kahane, who was killed by al-Qaeda. The way you ask this question about whether the Americans know about the Jewish terrorists is, sorry to say, typical of your way of adressing American support for Israel. But did you research Jewish terrorism in the USA yourself? Do you know the roots of it and the main reasons for it? Do you know the history of Soviet Jewry who were held captive (prevented from leaving the country) in the USSR for decades? It does not serve as a justification but it may have led you to another conclusion: these attacks happened in the 80s mostly. Do you know what Israel did with Kahane’s bunch? Their parties were banned and its leadership arrested. Did you know the Americans DID in fact complain about the JDL, and that other Western countries complained to Israel about this? I am not trying to downplay it but here’s my point: this was largely a phenomenon of the cold war.

    So tell me who were the worst terrorists in the USA in the past 150 years? Maybe it’s the KKK, so is far-right extremism the greatest threat of all? Do you really expect people to be more concerned with cold war terrorism than contemporary terrorism?

    As for your opinion on the “Western media” it is just your opinion and it begs the question which media sources you read. Opposite to you is a grand group of people who condemn “the media” for not speaking openly about the alleged errors of multiculturalism. It’s a matter of perspective.

    As for your violence begets violence bit and the picture at the bottom: Don’t expect any national to be more concerned abotu Syria than their own country when their own country just had its own terrorist attack. It’s the worst way ever to put things in perspective even though statistically speaking you are completely correct. I am not the type of person to say all Muslims are terrorists and yes statistically speaking there are a million more deadly threats to be worried about. I may be a bit impatient this morning but I just don’t get where you want to go with this paragrapgh. Do you suggest us to generalize less? Be more tolerant to Muslims? Are our Western countries even less tolerant to Muslims than any other country is to anyone? Is Sweden more of a discriminating country than Syria? Is Denmark less socially tolerant than Lebanon? I will never approve policies in the West (where I actually live) to shut out people just for praying in a different way but don’t expect me to practice my secularism any less towards a religion of immigrants. It’s funny you have to mention praying and religious dress, as if respecting that is the highest form of tolerance. I find this bizarre. I don’t have to respect anyone or anything just because they have a religion, it’s not like being black/white gay/straight man/woman. Islam deserves no more respect than any other set of ideas in the supernatural. If for example some fundamentalist Calvinist tells me homosexuality is evil then why should I respect his narrowminded overly religious world?


    • I must add I do not at all agree with American policies in the Middle East and have said before I also believe these policies simply aid terrorists in increasing their support base. The West, to the benefit of all people is in need of a dramatic change in policies vis-à-vis the Middle East.


  3. I have not laughed so hard for a long time :))
    7% Jews, 6% Muslim – Hilarious!!!
    Now who would believe that nonsense? Jews have not committed a single terrorism act in the U.S. Ever! If the B.O. administration have created this chart, it would just prove how incompetent they are :))



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