I am torn about all this Middle East chaos because I hate war and it does seem that the use of military force by Israel is excessive, but on the other hand I am having a hard time sympathizing with any of these crazy Muslim factions who teach their children to strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves and innocent people to smithereens for Allah. The children we feel sorry for one minute may just blow themselves and 100 people away the next.
In Sam Harris’ book, “The End of Faith”, Harris has a chart that has me really thinking lately (and it’s influenced me to do some extensive research into the people in this region…both Jews and Muslims alike).
Harris writes: Over 38,000 people recently participated in a global survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The results constitute the first publication of its Global Attitudes Project entitled “What the World thinks in 2002.” The survey included the following questions posed only to Muslims:
Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from enemies. other people believe that, no matter what the reason, this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?
Before we look at the results of this study, we should appreciate the significance of the juxtaposed phrases “suicide bombing” and “civilian targets.” We now live in a world in which Muslims have been scientifically polled (with margins of error ranging from 2 to 4 percent) as to whether they support (”often,” “sometimes,” “rarely,” or “never”) the deliberate murder and maiming of noncombatant men, women, and children in defense of Islam. Here are some of the results of the Pew study (not all percentages sum to 100).
SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN DEFENSE OF ISLAM
Lebanon 83 Yes — 12 no — 12 DK/Refused
Ivory Coast 73 Yes — 27 No — 0 DK/Refused
Nigeria 66 Yes — 26 No — 8 DK/Refused
Jordan 65 Yes — 26 No — 8 DK/Refused
Bangladesh 58 Yes — 23 No — 19 DK/Refused
Mali 54 Yes — 35 No — 11 DK/Refused
Senegal 47 Yes — 50 No — 3 DK/Refused
Ghana 44 Yes — 43 No — 12 DK/Refused
Indonesia 43 Yes — 54 No — 3 DK/Refused
Uganda 40 Yes — 52 No — 8 DK/Refused
Pakistan 38 Yes — 38 No — 23 DK/Refused
Turkey 20 Yes — 64 No — 14 DK/Refused
These are hideous numbers. If all Muslims had responded as Turkey did (where a mere 4 percent think suicide bombings are “often” justified, 9 percent “sometimes,” and 7 percent “rarely”), we would still have a problem worth worrying about; we would, after all, be talking about more than 200 million avowed supporters of terrorism. But Turkey is an island of ambassadorial goodwill compared with the rest of the Muslim world.
Harris goes on to ask:Let us imagine that peace one day comes to the Middle East. What will Muslims say of the suicide bombings that they so widely endorsed? Will they say, “We were driven mad by the Israeli occupation”? Will they say, “We were a generation of sociopaths”? How will they account for the celebrations that followed these “sacred explosions”? A young man, born into relative privilege, packs his clothing with explosives and ball bearings and unmakes himself along with a score of children in a discotheque, and his mother is promptly congratulated by hundreds of her neighbors. What will the Palestinians think about such behavior once peace has been established? If they are still devout Muslims here is what they must think: “Our boys are in paradise, and they have prepared the way for us to follow. Hell has been prepared for the infidels.” It seems to me to be an almost axiomatic truth of human nature that no peace, should it ever be established, will survive beliefs of this sort for very long.