Terrorism claims many Muslim victims. The Egyptian mosque attack Friday highlighted this fact.
In President Donald Trump’s fact-challenged response to the attack, he couldn’t resist using the attack to trumpet his border wall and travel ban ideas. Of course, he would use any opportunity to stoke fear.
Despite what Islamophobes and the Al Qaeda/ISIL type of terrorists might preach, the “clash of civilizations” is over-hyped. If you look at evidence of fatalities, clashes within “civilizations” are deadlier.
Muslim Victims of Fellow Muslims
With 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, the possibility of conflicts among them is high. To make matters worse, many Muslims live in areas with high levels of violence from wars and political instability.
Unsurprisingly, the Global Terrorism Index 2017 found that of the top ten countries with the highest impact of terrorism, eight were majority Muslim. The other two (Nigeria and India) have substantial populations of Muslims.
In the ten deadliest terror attacks of 2016, all but one happened in three Muslim countries. It is probably safe to assume that terrorism in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan mainly claimed Muslim victims.
According to another analysis, 75 percent of deaths in terrorist attacks in the 2001-2015 period happened in 25 Muslim-majority countries.
The US and Western Europe accounted for just over two percent of fatalities. And that included the 2,977 September 11 deaths.
For many Muslims, “state terror” is yet another source of danger.
Muslim Victims of State Terror
Are terrorists only non-state groups and individuals targeting civilians? While that may be legally true, I think the targeting of civilians by states is also terror.
Well before the rise of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, many Muslim states unleashed terror against their Muslim populations.
For example, it is not just today’s Syria civil war that has victimized hundreds of thousands of Syrians. In 1982, current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s father may have killed 20,000 Syrian Muslims over three weeks in Hama.
Today, both Muslim and non-Muslim states are terrorizing Muslims.
Muslims in Yemen face threats to their lives because of actions by Saudi Arabia and its allies. Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims has been rightly termed as “ethnic cleansing” by both the UN and the US.
Many Muslims seeking a peaceful life moved to the West as refugees. Unfortunately, rampant Islamophobia means they can be victims of right-wing terror.
Muslim Victims of Right-Wing Terror
Fortunately, US law enforcement has disrupted several anti-Muslim attacks.
For example, in 2016 the FBI thwarted a right-wing plot to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas. Most of the residents in the complex were Somali Muslims.
With the double standards in coverage of terrorist incidents, the incidents fade quickly. One study found that non-Muslim attackers get less than a tenth of the coverage that Muslim, foreign-born perpetrators get.