The most popular article published on LoonWatch was released in January of 2010: that article showed that, according to the official FBI website, only 6% of terrorist attacks in the United States from 1980-2005 (the only years where data was available) were committed by Muslims.
I published a follow-up article to look at the picture across the pond: I cited official data from Europol, which releases an annual terrorism report entitled EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT). The first available such report was for the year 2006. The data from 2006, 2007, and 2008 showed that about 0.4% of terrorist attacks in the European Union were committed by Muslims–less than 1% (actually, less than half of 1%).
Once again, a minuscule percentage of terrorist attacks in Europe were committed by Muslims. In 2009 and 2010, there were a grand total of 543 terrorist attacks, of which only 4 were committed by Muslims. This means that only 0.7% of terrorist attacks–again, less than 1%–were committed by Muslims.
Meanwhile, in that same time frame, separatist groups in Europe committed 397 terrorist attacks, or 73% of terrorist attacks overall. In other words, separatist groups committed 99.2 times (almost 100 times) more terrorist attacks than Muslims.
Another 85 attacks were committed by left-wing groups, accounting for about 16% of terrorist attacks overall.
Here is the data for 2009:
And for 2010:
In the 2010 report, the annex contains a summary of the results from the previous and current years:
(Due to size constraints, the table is a bit difficult to read here; you can see the actual report here.)
This “mega-table” shows that from 2007 to 2009, out of 1,317 terrorist attacks only 3 of them were committed by Muslims. From a percentage standpoint, that means only about 0.2% of terrorist attacks in Europe were committed by Muslims in those years–again, far less than 1%.
If we combine the data from the years Europol started keeping track of terrorist attacks–including 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010–we see that out of a grand total of 2,139 terrorist attacks only 10 of them were committed by Muslims. You can count the number of terrorist attacks by Muslims on your fingertips. Percentage wise, this means that 0.5% of terrorist attacks in Europe–half of 1%–were committed by Muslims.
In spite of this fact, all we ever hear about in the media and national discourse is the threat of “Islamist terrorism.” The data, however, does not support such fear-mongering. Yet, it is amazing how many people will persist in the belief that “Islamist terrorism” is an existential threat to America and Europe.
What is more amazing, however, are the Europol reports themselves. Year after year they report the same data, with terrorist attacks by Muslims numbering anywhere from zero to four incidents, always less than 1% of the total. For example, the 2010 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report showed that only 1 Islamist terrorist attack took place in the entire previous year. In that year (as in every year), separatist and leftist terrorism dwarfed Islamist terrorism by a magnitude of 237:1 and 40:1 respectively. Nonetheless, the report notes that “Islamist terrorism is still perceived as the biggest threat to most Member States” and concludes that “the threat remains real and serious.” No statement in the publication indicates that the perceived threat is exaggerated.
In 2010, there were 249 terrorist attacks; only 3 of these were committed by Islamists and the attacks themselves were described by the 2011 Europol report as “caus[ing] minimal damage.” Yet, the same report ominously warns that “the threat of Islamist terrorism by Al-Qaeda inspired groups and affiliates is high.” The report also includes xenophobic warnings about the threat of Muslim immigration to Europe, warning:
The current and future flow of immigrants originating from North Africa could have an influence on the EU’s security situation. Individuals with terrorist aims could easily enter Europe amongst the large numbers of immigrants.
So, three goons do something, and then the entire North African community is to be stigmatized?
Instead of drawing the obvious conclusion that the threat of “Islamic terrorism” is heavily exaggerated, the authors of these Europol reports continue to publish alarmist conclusions that simply do not match up with the data that they themselves provide.
* * * * *
When I published my previous article on terrorist attacks inside America and Europe, anti-Muslim critics giddily pointed out that the very same reports warned of the threat of Islamist terrorism. The data also showed that a disproportionately large minority of suspects arrested, detained, or wanted for terrorism-related offenses were Muslims.
This is not something I dispute. In fact, this finding supports my main argument: the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, the United States government, and their European counterparts are wrongfully targeting the Muslim community. The disparity between actual terrorist attacks committed by Muslims on the one hand and the number of Muslims arrested on the other speaks to this grave injustice, blatant discrimination, and misguided policy.
The 2010 Europol report notes:
Reported court decisions related to separatist and left-wing terrorism have the highest acquittal rate (15 %).
Guess who has the lowest acquittal rate? If your name is Abdallah ibn Masood al-Tamimi, you don’t stand a chance.
Furthermore, the report goes on to say (emphasis is mine):
Suspected membership of a terrorist organisation and the ﬁnancing of terrorism were the two most common reasons for arrests related to Islamist terrorism.
The majority of arrests were made on suspicion of membership of a terrorist organisation.
In other words, the most common reasons Muslims were arrested were not for actually planning or carrying out terrorist attacks…not even for being suspected of that. Rather, it was for suspected membership of a terrorist organization. But, here’s the real gem:
As in 2008, two-thirds of the individuals arrested on suspicion of involvement in Islamist terrorism could not be linked to speciﬁc terrorist organisations known to the authorities.
So, let me get this straight: Muslims were arrested for suspected links to terrorist groups, except the authorities didn’t even know to which ones? How much evidence could these authorities possibly have if they didn’t even know the names of the supposed groups that these Muslims
were allegedly affiliated to were suspected to be affiliated to?
As for financing terrorism, we all know how that works: there is the famous case of the highly-esteemed Islamic intellectual Dr. Tariq Ramadan who donated money to two Palestinian charities between 1998 and 2002. In 2003, the United States designated both of these charities as “terrorist fundraising organizations” for their alleged support of Hamas. Dr. Ramadan did not give any more money to these charities after that. Even so, the United States government accused Tariq Ramadan of “providing material support to a terrorist organization.” They argued that he “reasonably should have known” that the charities provided money to Hamas. Ramadan naturally responded: “How should I reasonably have known of their activities before the U.S. government itself knew?”
The same situation happens with other Muslims, to the point where now Muslim communities are too scared to donate to Islamic charities or to charities located in their ancestral countries. Even President Barack Obama seemed to appreciate this problem in a speech he gave in Cairo.
Muslims are arrested at a rate that does not correlate with the actual number of terrorist acts committed by Muslims simply because the majority of them are arrested not for actual, attempted, or even planned terrorist attacks. Rather, they are arrested for “providing material support for terrorism”–the absolutest vaguest of charges, one that I suspect a future generation will be smart enough to prohibit by law. Using such Gestapo style laws, Muslims can be arrested for mere suspicion of being part of an unknown terrorist organization, with little or no proof needed to levy such charges; alternatively, they can be arrested for “financing terrorism,” which often just means donating to charities that even the government hasn’t banned yet. Other offenses for which Muslims are arrested for include producing “propaganda”, which here in the U.S. would be considered Constitutionally protected freedom of speech (but is now prosecuted due to the curtailing of freedoms of speech in the War
on of Terror) or even for merely expressing unpopular political views.
* * * * *
Clearly, the data proves that Islamist terrorism is not a major threat to the United States or Europe. Anyone who believes it to be an existential threat should be considered alarmist and even a bit insane.
We’ve all heard the oft-repeated saying of Islamophobes that “all Muslims might not be terrorists, but (almost) all terrorists are Muslims!” Without any shadow of doubt, this mantra is patently false. Not just that, but certainly in the case of Europe it’s completely reversed from reality: all Muslims aren’t terrorists, and almost no terrorist attacks are committed by them–less than 1%.
An anti-Muslim critic responded with the following snarky comment:
Perhaps ‘scale’ rather than ‘quantity’ is the real issue here? 😉
Several others used a similar line of argumentation. Therefore, I have responded in full here: Europol Reports Zero Deaths from Islamic Terrorism in Europe. The title of that article is self-explanatory.