Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gallup spinning numbers of radical Muslims

Gallup polled some 50,000 Muslims over a six year period to see how Muslims think, and they will be releasing their results in a book. Ahead of publication they are putting out weekly press releases with some statistics. But based on the press releases, we can already see that they will be spinning the numbers to minimize Islamic radicalism.

Look how deceptive this release is:
Understanding extremists and the nature of extremism requires a global perspective that extends beyond conflicting opinions of experts or anecdotes from the "Arab street." What do Muslims polled across the world have to say? How many Muslims hold extremist views? What are their hopes and fears? What are their priorities? What do they admire, and what do they resent?

According to the Gallup Poll, 7% of respondents think that the 9/11 attacks were "completely" justified and view the United States unfavorably. Among those who believe that the 9/11 attacks were not justified, whom we'll call "moderates," 40% are pro-United States, but 60% view the United States unfavorably.

Analyzing and comparing the answers of the 7% with the moderate majority produced some surprising results. By focusing on the 7%, whom we'll call "the politically radicalized" because of their radical political orientation, we are not saying that all in this group commit acts of violence. However, those with extremist views are a potential source for recruitment or support for terrorist groups. This group is also so committed to changing political conditions that they are more likely to view other civilian attacks as justifiable: 13% of the politically radicalized versus 1% of moderates say that attacks on civilians are "completely justified."

Firstly, notice that they only give numbers for those who call 9/11 "completely justified" and they do not let us know the numbers who consider it "partially justified". They say that the "moderates" are a majority but is this a significant majority, a tiny majority or a plurality? By only giving the 7% number they are trying hard to imply a large difference which may not exist.

Notice also their choice of nomenclature: those who are pro-terror are merely "politically radicalized" while those who were against it - but perhaps support blowing up Jews - are "moderates." The word choice indicates that moderation is normal and expected, but extremism doesn't exist - it is just a learned behavior. This is a huge bias.

The press release also doesn't bother to explain the glaring contradiction that only 13% of those who already declared support for 9/11 claim that all civilian attacks are justifiable. Perhaps the question was stated in a way where Muslim civilians were implied?

Finally, as they try hard to make it appear that "only" 7% of Muslims worldwide support terror and hiding numbers that may indicate otherwise, they don't bother to run the calculation: assuming a conservative number of 1.2 billion Muslims, this means that "only" 84 million are extremist terror supporters that want to see, say, all Americans dead.

One can only imagine how the book will try to bury the real numbers that are so inconvenient to mention in the press release.