Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Right Never Overlooks an Opportunity To Vent Anti-Muslim Hatred

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The right is distraught over a just-released poll showing that large majorities of Muslims say that suicide bombings that target civilians are unacceptable. Why? Because 13% of Muslim respondents think that terrorist attacks against civilians are "sometimes" justified.

Can we say that right-wingers hate Muslims now? Their response to this poll doesn't seem to leave much doubt, does it? As Glenn says, "...the warrior-pundits are working in unison to milk every ounce of anti-Muslim fear-mongering that can be squeezed from this new poll:

It is literally difficult to overstate the prominence that fear and hatred of Muslims assumes in the worldview of these right-wing war proponents. They frantically search every news story for any possible angle to seize in order to exploit anti-Muslim hysteria. It is the centerpiece, the animating "principle," of the vast bulk of their public commentary.

In a separate post on the same subject today, Glenn points out that there is always a percentage of people, small though it might be, who will sign on to "almost anything"[Glenn's emphasis]:

The reality, though, is that it is almost impossible to conduct a poll and not have a sizable portion of the respondents agree to almost everything. And in particular, with regard to the specific question of whether it is justifiable to launch violent attacks aimed deliberately at civilians, the percentage of American Muslims who believe in such attacks pales in comparison to the percentage of Americans generally who believe that such attacks are justifiable.

The University of Maryland's highly respected Program on International Public Attitudes, in December 2006, conducted a concurrent public opinion poll of the United States and Iran to determine the comparative views of each country's citizens on a variety of questions. The full findings are published here (.pdf).

One of the questions they asked was whether "bombings and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are sometimes justified"? Americans approved of such attacks by a much larger margin than Iranians -- 51-16% (and a much, much larger margin than American Muslims -- 51-13%)[.]...

A rather substantial 24% of Americans thought that such attacks are justified "often" or "sometimes," while another 27% thought they were justified in rare cases. By stark contrast, only 11% of Iranians think such attacks are justified "often" or "sometimes," with a mere further 5% agreeing they can be justified in rare cases. Similar results were found with the series of other questions regarding violence deliberately aimed at civilians -- including women, children and the elderly. Americans believed such attacks could be justifiable to a substantially higher degree than Iranians.

But then, expecting integrity or intelligence from the likes of Mark Steyn or Michelle Malkin is like expecting a snowstorm in the Sahara.

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