Europol tracks terrorist attacks in the European Union and publishes the data in an annual report entitled EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT). The first such report was for the year 2006 and the most recently released one was for 2010. Going through the data, I noted in my previous article (Updated Europol Data: Less Than 1% of Terrorist Attacks by Muslims) that less than 1% of terrorist attacks on European soil were committed by Muslims.
Anti-Muslim bigots were naturally very upset with these findings, and offered a couple flimsy counter-responses. The most popular one was some variation of the following snarky remark:
Perhaps ‘scale’ rather than ‘quantity’ is the real issue here?
But, is it?
I went back through the data, which revealed the following conclusion: there were zero deaths from Islamist terrorism for every single year the Europol reports were published, a span of five years.
Here is the data (all quotes are taken directly from that year’s Europol terrorism report):
In 2006, there were no successful terrorist attacks by Muslims, but only 1 “failed terrorist attack that took place in Germany” resulting in zero deaths.
In 2007, once again “[t]here were no successful Islamist terrorist attacks” with 1 “failed terrorist attack that took place in Germany” and 3 “attempted terrorist attack[s]” resulting in zero deaths.
In 2008, there was only 1 terrorist attack by Muslims, in which “only the attacker himself was injured.” Again, zero deaths. But, the scale of the Islamist terrorist attacks make up for the fact that 99+% of terrorist attacks were by non-Muslims! (Note: there were no other attempted or foiled attacks in that year.)
In 2009, there was only 1 terrorist attack by Muslims, resulting in zero deaths but “[o]ne of the guards trying to stop [the terrorist] was slightly wounded.” The scale! The horror!
In 2010, “[t]he number of Islamist terrorist attacks actually carried out in the EU was limited to three attacks in 2010. They caused minimal damage to the intended targets.” The report notes further that “[t]he attacks shared some characteristics” including “lack of familiarity with explosives.” But, be very afraid of these Mastermind Terrorists! In the first attack, the victim “managed to save his life” by locking himself in a room. In the second attack, the Mastermind Terrorist accidentally let the bomb explode while “in a hotel toilet,” resulting in zero fatalities. In the last attack, “the suspected suicide bomber himself was the only fatality.” Once again, there were zero deaths from Islamist terrorism in that year.
This brings us to a grand total of zero deaths from Islamist terrorism from every year since Europol started keeping track of terrorism and publishing an annual report. Amazingly, it seems that the only injuries sustained, in the entire five year period, was to one guard who “was slightly wounded.”
Yet, even though according to the data in their own reports Muslims were responsible for less than 1% of terrorist attacks and caused zero deaths, Europol ominously warns that “the threat [from Islamist terrorism] remains real and serious” and “the threat of Islamist terrorism by Al-Qaeda inspired groups and affiliates is high.” Every year, without fail, Europol has reported these same findings, but never once did any of these reports note that the threat of Islamist terrorism is heavily exaggerated. In fact, the data they provide is irrelevant to their conclusions and recommendations, which are actually predetermined long before any data is collected or analyzed.
In one of his recent articles, Glenn Greenwald notes that U.S. officials declared that they have defeated Al-Qaeda by rendering it “operationally ineffective” but at the same time warned that “the terrorist group will remain a major security threat for years.” It seems that both the United States and the European Union are able to operate under such paradoxical premises.
Similarly, facts will not move Islamophobes. Even as their main arguments fall apart, they will no doubt find some fall-back argument to rely upon.