The Muslim World’s Bigotry Problem

Last year I wrote a brief post highlighting the Muslim world’s religious liberty problem — specifically the prevalence of the pesky belief that those who leave Islam should be, well, executed. This belief wasn’t held by the legendary “few extremists” who taint the religion of peace but instead by more than 80 percent of the population in countries like Egypt, Jordan, and (of course) Afghanistan. More than 60 percent of Malaysians supported executing apostates. In response, I said this:

I feel comfortable saying this is a problem, a much, much greater problem than any alleged American “Islamophobia,” and if we turn away from these statistics and believe the fault for continued jihadist bloodshed lies primarily within us — or is primarily the fault of Israel — then we are truly willfully blind.

This is not hate speech. It’s truth.

It’s a new year, so it’s also time for a new and depressing survey, in this instance the Anti-Defamation League’s polling of anti-Semitic attitudes across the globe. The top-line number is bad enough — 26 percent of citizens in surveyed countries hold anti-Semitic views — but the truly striking numbers are in the Muslim countries. And not just the Middle East.

Looking at the ADL’s comprehensive chart, the Middle Eastern numbers certainly do stand out (74 percent of citizens in surveyed Middle East and North African countries had anti-Semitic attitudes), but look what happens in countries far removed from Israel. In Malaysia (60 percent Muslim), 61 percent of citizens report anti-Semitic attitudes. Nearby Thailand (almost 95 percent Buddhist) was only 13 percent anti-Semitic. What about Indonesia (86 percent Muslim)? Anti-Semitism registered at 48 percent. In Singapore, with only 15 percent of its population Muslim, the level of anti-Semitism was 16 percent.

While there are few majority-Christian countries with anti-Semitic majorities (and a “few” is still too many), anti-Semitism is rampant in most of the Muslim world. 

It’s not “Islamophobia” to point this out, and it’s sheer fantasy to say that such bigotry is the fault of Jews, including Israeli Jews. There is a problem deep within the Muslim world, a problem we cannot fix for Muslims, and no amount of happy talk from our politican-theologians will have the slightest impact. (As an aside, I can’t help but laugh at the authoritative declarations of Islam’s virtue by political leaders who’ve never cracked open a Koran.)

As I’ve said before, I do not have an opinion on the nature of “true Islam.” I leave the definition of a faith to its adherents. But it’s past time for the world community to recognize that the version of Islam advanced and practiced on a mass scale in the Muslim world is deeply hostile to liberty, hateful toward Jews, and consequently prone to support violence against those who advance liberty or inhabit the world’s one Jewish state.

In other words, don’t blame the victims when a corrupted culture spawns jihad.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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