If we accept the premise that there are two types of Muslims, those who follow radical Islam and are capable of violence and those who moderate and peace loving, what percentage of Muslims worldwide could we expect to find in the first group?
What percentage support ISIS explicitly or are in favor of terrorist violence, extreme Sharia law and the subjugation of women?
In what has become an oft-repeated truism, few would doubt that the majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims are nonviolent in the same way that the majority of any such large group of humans is generally nonviolent. But with populations this large, even small percentages of individuals holding violent extremist views can represent huge numbers of people.
In a Gallup poll conducted between 2001 and 2007 (the largest in history at the time) examined tens of thousands of Muslims in 35 predominantly Muslim countries, using hour-long interviews to categorize individuals as either moderate or radical.
Whereas moderate Muslims may be quite religious, they were defined as nonviolent and non-radical for the study while radical Muslims expressed their support for suicide bombings and other violent actions.
Although the interviews indicated that just over 93% of Muslims world-wide would classify themselves as moderate and pose no threat to modern, Western society, this left a 7% minority whose views did mark them as a threat representing radical Islam.
According to the 2007 Gallup study for example, 7% of respondents stated that they believed that the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks were “completely justified”. Since 2007, the Muslim population has grown from an estimated 1.3 to 1.6 billion, representing a 23% increase.
If the 2007 percentage of Muslims who held violent, radical beliefs were a constant at 7%, it would represent 112 million Muslims worldwide today who support the terrorist atrocities and despotic ambitions of ISIS.
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