Report calls Muslim terrorism a ‘minuscule threat’

The threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism is “tiny” and often exaggerated by government officials, a leading anti-terrorism expert said in … Continued

The threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism is “tiny” and often exaggerated by government officials, a leading anti-terrorism expert said in a report released Wednesday (Feb. 8).

Charles Kurzman, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a researcher at the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, said 20 Muslim Americans were indicted for violent terrorist plots last year, down from 26 in 2010.

Kurzman’s report, “Muslim-American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11,” said that compared to the 14,000 murders in the U.S. last year, the potential for Muslim Americans to take up terrorism is “tiny.”

In the 10 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 193 Muslim Americans have been indicted in terrorist plots, or fewer than 20 per year, Kurzman said.

Just one of those indicted last year was actually charged with carrying out an attack — Yonathan Melaku, who fired shots at military buildings in northern Virginia — compared to six Muslim Americans who carried out attacks in 2010, including Faizal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber.

“This number is not negligible — small numbers of Muslim Americans continue to radicalize each year and plot violence,” Kurzman wrote. “However, the rate of radicalization is far less than many feared in the aftermath of 9/11.”

The report was based on research Kurzman conducted for his 2011 book, “The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists.”

Since 9/11, Muslims have turned in terrorism suspects in 52 of 140 cases in which the source of the tip could be identified. The report also found that terrorists do not fit any single ethnic profile. In 2011, 30 percent of terror suspects were Arab; 25 percent were white; and 15 percent were African-American.

Other important report findings: Two suspects in 2011 received terrorist training abroad, down from eight in 2010 and 28 in 2009. In addition, about a third (35 percent) of terror suspects since 9/11 has been converts to Islam.

The number of Muslim Americans arrested for funding or supporting terrorists is also declining, Kurzman said. Compared to 2010, when 27 Muslim Americans were arrested for supporting terrorism, only eight were arrested last year.

The report makes clear that since a spike in 2009, when 49 Muslim Americans were charged with terrorist plots or attacks, an expected wave of terrorism that prompted frequent terror alerts simply has not materialized.

While terrorism alerts are an understandable precaution, Kurzman said, they also create “a sense of heightened tension that is out of proportion to the actual number of terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11.”

The Department of Justice, which has jurisdiction over prosecuting terrorist plots, did not return a call for comment.

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  • XVIIHailSkins

    While it’s quite obvious that the domestic terrorist threat has been gravely overblown and propagandized, it would be incredibly naive to think that this fact diminishes the threat that fundamentalist religion poses to the long term survival and well being of mankind. Religious fascism, whether christian, muslim, or zionist in nature (or economic, if we want to include mormonism and scientology), will remain the greatest enemy of peace, progress, and the human intellect until it is finally domesticated beyond the point of revival.

    As we have seen with Islam, moderates are obviously less dangerous than extremists, but they do however provide a blanket of security for extremists, because they have made it nearly impossible to openly criticize the myriad logical and moral pitfalls of religion without being labeled intolerant. Most christians recognize this when they see it, but remain incapable of pointing that rhetoric back at themselves.

  • EddietheInfidel

    The study seems to confirm the opening statements of the “controversial” film shown to the NYPD, “The Last Jihad”; that is, that the vast majority of American muslims are not adherents of violent jihadist ideology.

    On the other hand:

    “Charles Kurzman…said 20 Muslim Americans were indicted for violent terrorist plots last year, down from 26 in 2010.”

    “Only” 20? Seems to me that that still far outstrips the number of American Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, atheists, or even right-wing militia members that were indicted for similar offenses during the year. Not mentioned in the article is the religious motivation that most, if not all, of these criminals proclaimed as the basis for their actions.

    “The report also found that terrorists do not fit any single ethnic profile. In 2011, 30 percent of terror suspects were Arab; 25 percent were white; and 15 percent were African-American.”

    Uh, so what’s the common thread here? If these people weren’t inspired to plot or commit terrorism because of perceived slights against their race or ethnicity, what is the belief system that ties them all together? Oh, no, could it possibly be?! Don’t say that it could be their focus on certain elements of their “religion”, or you might be labeled an “islamophobe”!

    It “only” took 19 pig-eyed true-believers of jihadist ideology to perpetrate the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history on 9/11, so “only” 20 muslim terrorism indictments doesn’t sound all that “minuscule” to me.

    Until muslim American leaders and “rights” groups stop trying to obfuscate, misdirect the debate and pretend that they’re only innocent victims of some “shadowy” conspiracy of religious intolerance, finally admit that some of their co-religionists are indeed inspired by violent passages in the core texts of islam as preached by many of their “clerics” around the world, and roundly, vocally and proactively reject the violent passages of the quran, hadith and sunnah and the “clerics” that preach supremest jihadist ideology, American muslims will continued to be viewed with suspicion.

  • cheesechoker

    The “20 Muslim Americans” number, whiles relatively small, is still an exaggeration. Many of the Americans arrested in domestic terror plots did not have the ability to carry out terror attacks until they were sought out by undercover FBI agents who provided them with targets, money, and (fake) explosives.

    If the same amount of law enforcement resources were spent goading extremist Christians into fake terror plots (bombing abortion clinics, etc), I’m sure they could round up at least 20 of them a year. This doesn’t mean that either Muslims or Christians are especially prone to violence; it just shows that if you fish around with enough money and manpower, you’ll eventually find some people with the desire to engage in political violence (though perhaps not the means or the opportunity).

    This kind of police work may boost arrest and conviction numbers, but does it really make anyone safer? Is it really the purpose of law enforcement to con people into committing crimes? Might the extent to which Muslim religious organizations are now spied upon and hassled by police and the FBI backfire, by making Muslims reluctant to cooperate in truly serious cases?

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