Charles Kurzman, a University of North Carolina professor of sociology, is the author of a new book titled The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists. Seeking to “turn down the volume on terrorism debates,” Kurzman argues Al Qaeda and its affiliates have “failed so dismally” because they have been unable to attract large numbers — particularly Muslim American recruits — to their cause.
In an interview with ThinkProgress yesterday, Kurzman told us that “evidence so far over the last decade” is that the threat of terrorism committed by Muslims “has not been growing.” Kurzman’s comprehensive analysis of terrorist plots since 9/11 finds that 186 individuals of the Muslim faith had become radicalized towards violence. Thus, he finds that while “Muslim Americans are participating in terrorist plots at a proportion greater than their proportion to the population,” the overall threat of Muslim terrorism is “very, very low”:
Muslim American terrorist plots have killed since 9/11 — since the 3,000 killed on 9/11 — have killed 33 individuals in the United States since that time. Over that same period of time, there have been more than 150,000 murders in the United States, or 14 or 15,000 murders every year. Muslim American terrorism, then, has been a very small, very low percentage of the overall violence in the United States.
Kurzman explained to us his research finds that the Muslim American community has been central in combatting the low-level threat. Of the terrorist plots where researchers have been able to identify a tip that was responsible for foiling them, about one-third of those tips originated from the Muslim American community. The evidence suggests “that Muslims themselves are working actively to prevent radicalization,” Kurzman said. Watch it:
As CAP’s report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network In America” details, a small band of so-called “experts” speak at conferences, appear on TV and radio, and write on various websites to “rail against Islam and cast suspicion on American Muslims,” all with the intention of hyping the threats emanating from the Muslim American community.
Reacting to the agenda of the Islamophobia network, Kurzman told us: “I think that our goal should be to increase cooperation with non-radical Muslims — in other words to increase a sense of inclusion, collaboration — rather than to blow up our fears of this small group into suspicion of a much wider group that isn’t involved at all.”