This is the blog post that has taken me the longest to write. I went through every single terrorist attack in Europe and North America in the comprehensive RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents for the last 10 years (close to 4000 incidents). Terrorists were divided between Muslims or non-Muslims. When RAND does not provide information on likely or confirmed perpetrators and we have no strong suspicions, I assume they were non-Muslim, to err on the side of caution.
Most of Islam is of course non-violent. Surveys show that less than 10-30% of Muslims are openly sympathetic to violence in the name of Islam. I am therefore not writing about Islam, I am writing about Islamism, a minority political sect within Islam.
Looking at all people killed by terrorist attacks in Europe and North America during the last 10 years, 97% was committed by Muslim terrorist, or 4703 of 4873 killed. Most of this is September 11 alone.
Still, even if we exclude the September 11 attacks, the share of casualties due to Muslim terror is 91%.
A lot of the remainder are a number of deadly (and under-reported by western media) Muslim terrorist attacks in Russia. If we just look at Western Europe, the share of terrorist deaths caused by Muslim terrorists during the last 10 years is 79%.
The remaining 68 deaths out of 319 were committed by The IRA and other domestic terrorist. By comparison, the Madrid attacks in 2004 alone killed three times as many people than all attacks by ETA, The IRA, Corsican separatists, right-wing terrorists and all other non-Muslim terrorist attacks in Europe during the last ten years combined.
Remember, I do not include any Islamists terrorist attacks in the Middle East or South Asia or Africa or anywhere else other than Europe and North America. Based on State Department Data and to unimaginable horror these attacks appear to have killed in excess of 10,000 people per year during the last decade.
Unlike Neo-cons, I do not believe that radical Islamism is a threat to our civilization the same way Nazism or Communism ever was. The reason is that militant Islamism is too disorganized.
Lack of organization makes it hard to eradicate militant Islamism, as is no center of power you can knock out to end the war. However it also means Islamists are unable to concentrate the force required to really threaten us. At worst, they can kill a few thousand innocent civilians, which is of course horrible, but hardly on the same civilization-threatening level as Nazis exterminating millions or Communists threatening to eradicate Europe with nukes.
Second, unlike Communism and Fascism, militant Islamism has little attraction as an ideology in the West. During the cold war communist sympathizers infiltrated governments and other key institutions in the United States and Western Europe. Communist American scientists stole U.S military technology and helped Stalin build nuclear weapons. The same will not happen with regards to radical Islam. Today there are very few American scientists who are True Believers (Useful Idiots) and likely to steal nuclear secrets and give them to Bin Laden.
However what does annoy me is when the elite uses statistics to manipulate the public.
In Sweden the public is currently worried about Islamic terror, after two recent incidents with Islamist terrorist. Once again the elites, (media, politician and academics) have ganged up against the public and are trying to downplay the terrorist threat from militant Islam.
You see, while ordinary citizens may have gotten the impression from the nightly news that adherents of militant Islamism are statistically overrepresented in terms of international terrorism, the Enlightened Classes know better. The real reason the poor fools in the public believe there is a link between militant Islam and international terrorism is "islamophobia".
There was a debate in the parliament recently. Both the Social Democrats and the other parties in the left claimed that the main terrorist threat to the Swedish public today is not radical Islam, but right wing extremism...
The Green party representative explained that terrorism "is about emotional and social aspects rather than ideological ones".
This is the left, but the right is not much better.
So how in god's name would you convince the public of the preposterous claim that militant Islam is not the main terrorist threat in Europe? Their method is interesting, both in showing ingenuity in finding ways to trick the public, and stupidity in what they are willing to convince themselves of. The solution is namely to rely on the number of terrorist attacks, rather than on casualties from terrorism!
In Spain and Northern Ireland in particular, there are lots of tiny terrorist attacks by domestic terrorists every year. These attacks typically don't kill anyone, and often don't appear aimed at killing anyone. Characteristic examples from the RAND database:
"The headquarters of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) in Baranain had several windows broken when it was attacked with stones. The damage is estimated at 50,000 pesetas."
"A group of radicals attacked a Renault dealership by setting a fire which damaged three vans belonging to the firm. A container of flammable liquids and firework rockets were used to start the fire."
Al-Qaida on the other hand specialized on a few spectacular attacks aimed at killing as many as possible.
Thus if we ignore the deaths and treat each attack as equal, you can show that Islamists commit a smaller number of terrorist acts than domestic terrorists. This method absurdly assumes that bringing down the Twin Towers on September 11 is equal to ETA vandalizing some property in Spain (each is one attack after all).
This is for instance what Sweden's largest daily DN does, using a report from Interpol about the number of terrorist incidences in Europe, and concluding that "Islamists terror attacks are unusual in Europe".
My calculations show that DN is misleading it's readers. As usual, when it comes to issues shrouded in political correctness, the public is better off relying on their own impression than "scientists" and "experts" in the media.