Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Not-So-Great Islamist Menace?

“Terrorist plots against Europe are on the decline, statistics show, and the majority are not coming from Muslims” writes Dan Gardner in The Vancouver Sun, January 10, 2011.


“If someone mentioned terrorism in Europe, you would probably have an idea about the size of the threat and who’s responsible.

It’s big, you would think. And growing. As for who’s responsible, that’s obvious. It’s Muslims. Or if you’re a little more careful with your language, it’s radical Muslims, or “Islamists.” (…)

So the danger is big and growing, and Islamists are the source. Right?

Wrong actually.”


“The European Union’s Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2010 states that in 2009 there were “294 failed, foiled, or successfully executed attacks” in six European countries. This was down almost one-third from the total inn 2008 and down by almost one-half from the total in 2007.

So in most of Europe, there was no terrorism. And where there was terrorism, the trend line pointed down.

As for who’s responsible, forget Islamists. The overwhelming majority of the attacks – 237 of 294 – were carried out by separatist groups, such as the Basque ETA. A further 40 terrorists schemes were pinned on leftist and/or anarchist terrorists. Rightists were responsible for four attacks. Single-issue groups were behind two attacks, while responsibility for a further 10 was not clear.

Islamists? They were behind a grand total od one attack. Yes, one. Out of 294 attacks. In a population of half a billion people. To put that in perspective, the same number of attacks was committed by the Comité d’Action Viticole, a French group that wants to stop the importation of foreign wine.”

Read more.

Of course, as noted by Gardner, Europe has major problems with the integration of its Muslim populations and the threat of Islamist terrorism is real. Moreover, some threats are presumably not heard of because they have been accommodated by negotiation and concessions beforehand. Nevertheless, the wrong perception of known facts is striking.

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