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Fareed Zakaria schools Glenn Beck

December 14, 2010

You know I understand fear.  I understand that continued threats and actions by what seems like an overwhelming majority given the narrative of 24 hour rolling news does.

But I also understand reason. Fareed Zakaria does also, which is why on Sunday 12 December’s issue of his CNN program, “GPS”, he took Fox News host Glenn Beck to task for comments Beck and his producer Stu had said on Beck’s syndicated radio show.

Beck, had during last week’s The Glenn Beck Program,  saying that 10% of the world’s Muslim inhabitants are terrorists.

“What is the number of Islamic terrorists? 1 percent? I think it’s closer to 10%, but the rest of the P.C. world will tell you, ‘Oh no, it’s miniscule,'”

This was a follow on from a point he made in his 2003 book “The Real America” where he said:

“Ninety percent of Islam is peaceful. Ten percent of Islam wants us dead.”
Zakaria in his GPS show fired back at Glenn Beck’s maths, by saying:
“Let’s do a bit of math here… There are 1,570,000,000 Muslims worldwide. Take ten percent of those Muslims and you get 157,000,000. That’s how many Muslim terrorists Glenn Beck is suggesting there are in the world.”
Zakaria’s figures for the population of Muslims across the globe come from a Pew Forum on Religion and Public life in which they mapped the Global Muslim Population in 2009; “A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.”
Glenn Beck’s calculations come from, a World Public Opinion poll which claims that demonstrating that at least 10% of the people in the Middle East support violence against American civilians. Now I am not going to dispute the figures of the poll, but do dispute Glenn Beck and his producer Stu’s interpretation.  Stu backed up Beck’s point on his show by saying that supporting or advocating a terrorist act therefore makes someone a terrorist.  I understand how someone can come to that view – but as Zakaria says:
“Of course, the FBI, the State Department and most other organizations define terrorists in the more common sense that they are well, terrorists, but never mind…Hating America is not the same thing as being a terrorist.”
If we go by the Pew study, they found there are 1.57 billion Muslims.  If we use Beck’s 10% calculations, that’s 1.57 million Muslim terrorists. That’s half the population of America.  Is Beck really standing by that figure.  Well Stu believes it, even if Beck thinks it doesn’t matter and that no one cares what Zakaria says because “most people don’t even know who Fareed Zakaria is”.
Lets look at what Beck said again:

BECK: What is the number of Islamic terrorists? One percent? I think it’s closer to 10 percent, but the rest of the PC world will tell you ‘oh no, it’s minuscule.’ Okay, well, let’s take you at your one percent. Look at the havoc of one percent of Muslims causing on the rest of the world!

One percent sir is a lot different to 10% – so which is it? One or ten? Because 1 % is 15.7,000,ooo and 10 is as I have pointed out 157 Million.

I agree with Glenn, one per cent have caused a hell of a lot of havoc – whether it be through actual acts of violence or the fear of violence.  But how is this going to help?

Without making excuses for acts of terrorism, one has to remember the phrase “one man’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.”  When Stu uses the World Public Opinion poll to show the people supporting violence what it doesn’t make clear is why people support – the deeper narrative. Take those who support violence in retaliation to Iraq – it doesn’t make them right, not at all, but nothing is so black and white – people in Iraq feel they were invaded by a foreign country who have not helped them, left them in some cases in a worse place than they were before and who have been documented as treating their citizens in as abhorrent ways as the previous regime.

Take some Palestinians for another example.  To reiterate again, there should be no excuses for violence and those who use a rocket launcher instead of sitting down to talk are in my view, wrong, but this is a people who on both sides of the fence have been brought up to believe Arabs or Jews are the enemy.  Violence is begating violence, children are being brought up in war zones – and sadly the only way some can see to get heard is to use violence.

However that doesn’t mean they would and neither does it mean that, as Zakaria points out, that hating a country means one supports the acts of violence. Stu can use the WPO poll to show people hate America but that does not mean people will then want to destroy it with acts of terrorism.

As the WPO poll also states (page 21):

Views of al Qaeda are complex. Majorities agree with nearly all al Qaeda’s goals to change US behavior in the Muslim world, to promote Islamist governance, and to preserve and affirm Islamic identity. However, consistent with the general rejection of attacks on civilians, only minorities say they approve of al Qaeda’s attacks on Americans as well as its goals, suggesting that many may feel ambivalence.

So Beck and his supporters who typically flooded message boards with views that Fareed Zakaria supports terrorism because he does not double down on Beck’s view, are completely disingenuous, because using the same poll Stu and Beck were using, it points out that support for a terrorist network such as Al Qaeda doesn’t necessarily mean someone is advocating the violence they use but the philosophy, as I quote above.

Zakaria noted that polls also show a significant number of Americans are angry with the government and therefore points out the inaccuracy in Stu’s comment about the definition of a terrorist, where he stated that anyone who expressed a negative attitude toward America would fall under the label of “terrorist,” even if they had not personally been involved in terror attacks:

“Does supporting such anger against the American government make one a terrorist?…According to Glenn Beck’s producer and his dictionary.com definition, maybe, but in that case, how would one describe a man who has been fueling such anger against the American government on television daily for the last two years? How, in other words, would one describe Glenn Beck?”

The sad fact in all this, is once again a member of the right-wing wants to claim that if someone does not condemn an attack, they therefore must be a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer – at least if it is an Islamic Radical attack.  A member of the right-wing again alludes to this idea that moderates are speaking out against the attacks. Well they are wrong and sorry Stu and Glenn but you are taking a very black and white view at a series of polls and making calculations based on those polls that do not make sense – you are over exaggerating the scale of the problem.  No one is denying the fact that there are people using an extreme version of the Islamic faith to commit terrorist attacks.  No one is denying that, but some of us are not ready to paint a brush over a whole population of people or distort figures to misrepresent a narrative which does not help.
By the way if you are desperate to see moderate Muslims speaking out against terrorism:

http://www.muhajabah.com/otherscondemn.php:
It has often been claimed in the media that Muslims are “silent” and do not condemn terrorism. This page is intended to refute that claim. Muslims have not been silent. Not even close. See also How American Muslims Really Responded to September 11 for more information about the Muslim response to 9/11. And another listing is at Statements Against Terror. Also Muslim Voices Against Terrorism.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/islfatwa.htm
The following essays describe a small percentage of statements condemning terrorism that have been made, but not widely published.
http://facts-not-fear.blogspot.com/2007/05/muslims-condemn-terrorism-extremism.html
There are Islamic sites and Islamic associations, religious and political leaders that strongly condemn terrorism and violence, that are strongly allied with the US in the war on terror, but not enough people know this.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. afrankangle permalink
    December 15, 2010 12:37 am

    Of course I wonder if Glenn Beck is worth all the time this post requires. Good research Emma.

    • December 15, 2010 9:20 am

      Al I wonder sometimes myself about that – but then I also wonder if we really should just ignore him – I think he is too dangerous for that. Thank you for the kind words again

      • afrankangle permalink
        December 15, 2010 3:46 pm

        Oh now that you feel the need to fight fiction with fact … thus carry on your cause.

        Bad news …. Glenn was in town yesterday for a book signing … and I forgot to get in line for you. We’ve been blessed with both he & Sarah in a short span of time. Yep … Cincinnati is a conservative stronghold.

    • December 15, 2010 6:41 pm

      Always been my thing to turn to facts especially when the fiction is getting more attention than it should be – cant stand the noise machines.

      And poor you – that’s going to take years for your town to regain itself from those two visits. Please accept my sympathies.

      • afrankangle permalink
        December 15, 2010 10:09 pm

        Not years … heck, they’ll return here asap. Lots of lemmings here for them.

  2. December 14, 2010 6:44 pm

    Thanks for the reply! Here’s my response for our friendly debate:

    Generally, I don’t accept that anyone is ‘painting the whole of Islam’ with the same brush. By saying 1% or 10% are radical or terrorists, is anyone tarring ALL Muslims? If we settle that there are merely 1 million, is that number OK with FZ or yourself? As an American, what number of persons that want me to die is a tolerable number?

    Upon further consideration, I think it’s us that are being painted with one brush. If my Government decides to attack dangerous radicals in an effort to protect me, am I guilty of something? All I can do is vote every two years. Voting by the way, is how the civilized world polices itself. How are Islamic states policing themselves or the radicals they harbor? If they policed themselves, NATO and the US wouldn’t have to be involved militarily.

    Regarding Safety: No, since Americans aren’t able to visit most Muslim Countries there isn’t clear evidence of murders. The only basis of fact is that our State Dept. says that countries like Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Gazza, etc. are unsafe and have banned travel. What should we think of that? My interpretation is that they aren’t ‘friendly’ to Americans and I’d be in severe danger.

    Regarding the ‘Social State’: I’ll confess, that was an unrelated zinger meant to imply that you are less free than I am here in America (though not for long as this Administration progresses). No offense intended, nor is it related to this issue. People reap what they sow, America included.

    Regarding ‘defending Islam’: I simply meant to bring up the idea that Muslims, even moderates, subjugate women. I find it curious that a free woman is supportive of those who follow such customs or Shariah Law. Additionally, it seems to be a very intolerant society. Both aspects seem to be much different than what Liberals here present as their core values.

    Thanks for the dialog!

    • December 14, 2010 7:36 pm

      Collin said: Generally, I don’t accept that anyone is ‘painting the whole of Islam’ with the same brush. By saying 1% or 10% are radical or terrorists, is anyone tarring ALL Muslims? If we settle that there are merely 1 million, is that number OK with FZ or yourself? As an American, what number of persons that want me to die is a tolerable number?

      Collin you seem to be missing the point here. Beck himself said today the numbers don;t matter , the point is he used them, they mean something. What I want to see is an adult representation of the facts not exaggerating to scare and feed fear – not numbers that are wildly over the top. Don;t get me wrong, one terrorist is too many, but Beck’s numbers were exaggerated. That is what Zakaria and myself here are saying.

      Collin said: I think it’s us that are being painted with one brush. If my Government decides to attack dangerous radicals in an effort to protect me, am I guilty of something? All I can do is vote every two years. Voting by the way, is how the civilized world polices itself. How are Islamic states policing themselves or the radicals they harbor? If they policed themselves, NATO and the US wouldn’t have to be involved militarily.

      Again you are missing the point here. I used and Zakaria used, Beck’s ideas, just turned the other way round – the point being to make wild allegations and sums of 2+ 2=7 – don;t represent reality and muddy the dialogue and the answer to solve the problem.

      Collin said: Regarding Safety: No, since Americans aren’t able to visit most Muslim Countries there isn’t clear evidence of murders. The only basis of fact is that our State Dept. says that countries like Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Gazza, etc. are unsafe and have banned travel. What should we think of that? My interpretation is that they aren’t ‘friendly’ to Americans and I’d be in severe danger.

      Most Muslim Countries – please do you have a link to back up most? And Please the reason why the State department have declared some of those places unsafe is because of the unrest within the countries themselves not because Americans are a target, IE: see a white person on the street and that’s it, gone. BTW, I am white I understand that certain places are extreme but at the same time, if you read my post you would understand some people are terrorists not because they just hate, they have reasons that underline – doesn;t make the end game of killing innocent people right, not at all, but also you are not a specific target – you, Collin are not. Neither am I. Those countries are out because of political and other unrest, including acts of violence and terrorism – most of those have been violence against other members of those nations not outside westerners.

      Collin said: Regarding the ‘Social State’: I’ll confess, that was an unrelated zinger meant to imply that you are less free than I am here in America (though not for long as this Administration progresses). No offense intended, nor is it related to this issue. People reap what they sow, America included.

      Actually I am very free Collin. As you can see I am free to express my views, I work freely and live freely – I am as free as you. And trying to bait me does not bode well with me.

      Collin said: Regarding ‘defending Islam’: I simply meant to bring up the idea that Muslims, even moderates, subjugate women. I find it curious that a free woman is supportive of those who follow such customs or Shariah Law. Additionally, it seems to be a very intolerant society. Both aspects seem to be much different than what Liberals here present as their core values.

      This is unrelated and nothing to do with the topic and I dont like the idea that you are trying to use what I consider strawman arguments. As I have said in my posts and elsewhere in my blog, terrorism and extremism exist – within all religions. Look in the Bible, there are things in there that are just as abhorent as some sections of the Islamic belief, but you don;t see us Christians use them – we are no longer stoning, or sacrificing – yet these are in our ow Bible.

      NOT ALL people of the Islamic faith support the extremities of the religion, they are moderate and yes there are plenty of westernized Muslims. I do not support Shariah Law and again this blog post was not a discussion on the intracacies of the Faith – either that or shall I bring up the Westboro Church and other off shoots of Christianity that are more extreme? I have Muslim friends, male and female. They know me – my tattoos, dyed hair and piercings all. I am free – they are not trying t stop me. That doesn’t stop me and they being worried about those within their Faith who would bastardize it with so called honor (or dishonor) killings or other extreme acts.

      See I have spent time talking to people are realizing that strip away the religion and the rhetoric and we have more in common than others would like yu to believe.

      Collin the idea of diverting the topic is not good for the debate – it has nothing to do with this because I do not support the extremist element of ANY religion. And this topic was about defending against inflated numbers to further a rhetoric.

      Merry Christmas Collin. I think it best if we leave this to an agree to disagree.

  3. December 14, 2010 4:45 pm

    So back in 2001 all those people across this country stating we should nuke Afghanistan back to the stone age were terrorists? Are they American terrorists or Christian terrorist because we are a “christian” country. Great post. I’ll be back.

    • December 14, 2010 5:26 pm

      Thanks for the kind words – well given Beck’s logic I guess they are terrorists too – but if you see, this is dispelled in my post – sadly I doubt Beck will ever see this.

  4. December 14, 2010 4:09 pm

    Hello! I agree with your civil debate concept, and respectfully submit some criticism of your post.

    Minor detail, 1% would be 15,700,000 or over fifteen million. You stated ‘157,000’ which is a couple zero’s off.

    Whatever the number is, the fact remains that Muslims can freely exist in the UK or US. However, people like me (white American) cannot so much as walk down the street of a number of Muslim countries without being murdered. Who is the civil, tolerant society? Fifteen million or over a hundred million – semantics of the definition of terrorist – either number is quite scary. I believe that was Beck’s point.

    Don’t mistake me for an ardent Beck supporter, however I do agree with him that it doesn’t really matter. We painfully learned that it only requires a couple dozen capable Muslim Extremists to do enormous damage or disrupt society.

    I’m curious how a women living (relatively, considering the Social state of the EU) freely finds herself supporting Islam. What is it that compels you to defend or support the religion?

    • December 14, 2010 5:39 pm

      Collin said: Minor detail, 1% would be 15,700,000 or over fifteen million. You stated ’157,000′ which is a couple zero’s off.

      A couple of zero’s – sorry missed those off. But still Beck’s idea that there are 15 million Islmic Terrorists has no basis in fact, it is his math for his interpretation of a set of figures – painting a brush I call it.

      Collin said: Whatever the number is, the fact remains that Muslims can freely exist in the UK or US. However, people like me (white American) cannot so much as walk down the street of a number of Muslim countries without being murdered.

      Please can you back this up with some facts to show that white people are being murdered in Muslim countries at a rate that makes you worried for your own safety. Don’t get me wrong I am sure some countries would, but to say that this is happening enough for you to take notice and yet it is not making a dent in the media – seems strange to me – again I am concerned that mass assumptions are being made. And besides, does this give any right for us to defame the whole?

      Collin said: Fifteen million or over a hundred million – semantics of the definition of terrorist – either number is quite scary. I believe that was Beck’s point.

      Sorry but when you make a point you have to be responsible – when you are saying a percentage of a religion are dangerous, you need to express it with full figures that are definite not based on wild calculations. Sorry. If that was Beck’s point he did not make it clear enough and he certainly drew no distinctions.

      Collin said: Don’t mistake me for an ardent Beck supporter, however I do agree with him that it doesn’t really matter. We painfully learned that it only requires a couple dozen capable Muslim Extremists to do enormous damage or disrupt society.

      Sorry but it does matter – it matters because if we are ever going to stop this cycle we also need to look at our own actions – which include tarring the whole with the same brush as the few. I do not believe people should say all Christians are terrorists because we did not all speak out against the illegal war in Iraq, nor about us helping dictators such as Pinoche. So why do we, based on the actions of a few, tar the whole? Especially when many Muslims have spoken out against the violence yet their voice is not heard within a press that likes sensationalism.

      Collin said: I’m curious how a women living (relatively, considering the Social state of the EU) freely finds herself supporting Islam. What is it that compels you to defend or support the religion?
      Reply

      Collin you will have to forgive me but what does my living in the ” Social state of the EU” and just what are you implying by asking “What is it that compels you to defend or support the religion?”

      See when someone refers to the EU are “social” my defenses go up because this is the terminolgy Beck uses daily to describe my side of the pond. And it is a wide brush not with understanding of what Europe and the UK is about.

      And as for me defending Islam – why should I not defend moderates of any religion when they are being demonized so unjustly? Why should I not defend the moderates even if I do not share their faith? Please tell me why you think I should not.

      Thank you for your civility – I don’t think we see things from the same perspective but I welcome your thoughts even if I believe there are questions in the motivation of some of your points.

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