07 March 2008

Radical islamists and some number crunching

Abe Greenwald takes apart the optimistic conclusions some people made out of the latest Gallup survey of Muslim's attitude towards the radical Islam. The survey concluded that:

About 93 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven percent are politically radical, according to the poll, based on more than 50,000 interviews.
Says Abe Greenwald:
Seven percent of 1.3 billion leaves us with . . . 91 million radical Islamists. And to think we were concerned! That piddling handful is nothing that can’t be taken care of with a little dialogue, a few billion in American aid, and some proper education. I’m feeling audaciously hopeful.
Adding to this:
Dalia Mogahed, Esposito’s co-author, says, “A billion Muslims should be the ones that we look to, to understand what they believe, rather than a vocal minority.” How right she is. We need to find out from one billion rational human beings why they largely refuse to stand up for humanity and dignity instead of cowering in the face of fascist thugs. They’re the only Westerners this study challenges.
Before the usual suspects jump in with the usual accusations of Islamophobia, let's look at the numbers.

I guess that out of the above mentioned 91 million "radicals" only about 10% or so will be ready to get actively involved with what is euphemistically called in the press "militancy", the others will definitely harbor, support and provide the necessary means. Which leaves us with "only" 9 million or so "activists". Not a piddling number, you will agree. It takes only one fanatic to blow apart a plane or a bus or...

Still, the numbers and their significance should not obscure the danger. I would like to remind that the Bolshevik party counted barely 20,000 members on the eve of 1917 - and look where they got. The Nazi party (NSDAP) counted 60 members at its inception - and look where they got. So it is not only the numbers that count.

I don't believe I am steering too far from the truth saying that any nation can safely count on 7% or so of fanatics of its own kind and manner. Every country has its own small hard core of crazies for this or other case, presenting a disaster waiting to happen. So what is it that keeps this time bomb in check in some of the places, letting the disaster to take its course in the others?

You tell me.