What Really Motivates Islamic Religious Radicals? Hint: Not Religion.

In a groundbreaking project to understand what the world's 1.3 million billion Muslims really think, Gallup World Poll conducted a massive, multiyear research and conducted tens of thousands of interviews in 35 countries with predominantly Muslim (or have significant Muslim) populations.

The result is this book: Who Speaks for Islam? by John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed - and here are some of its most counterintuitive findings, as pertaining to terrorism and religious radicals:

•Among the Muslims surveyed, 7 percent condoned the 9/11 attacks. The study terms these the "politically radicalized."

•When asked why they supported the attacks, the radicals gave political rather than religious reasons. They have a sense of political frustration and feel humiliated and threatened by the West. Those who opposed the attacks often gave religious reasons for doing so.

•The radicals, on average, are not the down-and-out people in society. They are more educated than moderates, and two-thirds of radicals have average or above-average income. Forty-seven percent supervise others at work. They are more optimistic about their own lives than are moderates (52 percent to 45 percent).

•Radicals are no more religious than the general population and do not attend mosque more frequently. (Source)

The Christian Science Monitor has a nice summary of the book, divided into topics like Islam and democracy, women's right, and how Muslims view the West - via Il Filosofo

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@ Patricio: "Jews shooting unarmed Arab teens in the head because they feel like it. There are a lot of ugly things going on in the Middle East, and there is plenty of blame to go around.

"Jews running over American citizens with tanks." Referring I presume to Rachel Corrie; I don't know a lot about her case, but I do know that someone does not get run over by a tank or bulldozer without putting themselves in the wrong place and failing to get herself the he11 out of the way. Certainly there are conflicting stories from both sides of the issue; but neither side is without bias, and with their handling of so-called photographic evidence, the ISM hasn't helped their own cause in the least.

"Christian terrorists shooting doctors and health care workers because of what the Bible says." = example of something done by a very small handful of misguided pro-life extremists who share about as much in the way of ideology with the average Christian as you and I apparently share. The big difference between these extremists and the Muslim extremists is that the Muslims are in large part encouraged in their terrorism by their religious leaders, or at least not discouraged. Name for me one notable Christian leader who condones the murder of "doctors and health care workers" in the name of Christianity, or at least one who doesn't condemn it.

"Christian politicians and pundits advocating the forced conversion of non-Christians around the world." Again, how about some citations for these baseless claims?

"A push in right wing American Christian politics towards the emimination of non-believers." ??? What the...? Not sure what to think of this one; "emimination"? Could you possibly mean "elimination"? If so, I call BS on this one too.

"An evangelical Christian American president, GWB, lying to his citizens to start a war that has ended up not only bankrupting our country, but killing exponentially more people than any hijab-wearing retarded Muslim girl ever could." Here you give yourself away as yet another left-wing Bush hater, but one who goes the extra step of equating "Christian" with "unquestioning Bush supporter". That's an assumption that you really shouldn't make, because it is so terribly separated from reality.

You seem to view every Christian as a "radical" when nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of Christians don't want to take over America in the least. We really don't want anything much different than the average secularist wants; to be allowed to live our lives as we see fit in an ordered society without the extreme viewpoints of people who believe differently being forced upon us.

So, yes, Patricio; I do get it, and I think most would agree that I have a much better grasp of reality than you.
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I think there's an underlying current of hatred that has nothing to do with religious beliefs. This is what fuels terrorists and radical groups, but it is inherent in most people in general.

From an early age, in the most ordinary homes, Muslims are taught that Jews are terrible, and Jews are taught that Muslims are terrible. Christians are taught that Muslims are terrorists, and Muslims are taught that Christians are - what? The agents of Satan or some such stuff.

Whenever a terrorist kills someone, the general Muslim population may not openly approve, but many are thinking "well, it's not like those Jews didn't deserve it for what they did to ..."

And vice versa.

It's the subtle hatred, not the open racism and terrorism, that keeps the flames fanned.
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For those of you that think that the majority of Muslims embrace fundamentalist views, you really need to look at your words and reflect upon how similar your analysis is to popular perceptions of Jews previous to World War II. For those of you that point of the Qur'an as proof positive that Muslims are terrible people, keep in mind that if most Christians followed the Bible to the letter, they would also subjugate women, condone stoning as a punishment for disobedient children, and accept that genocide is acceptable if your enemies are godless.

Islam makes no more sense than Christianity or Judaism, but this irrational fear of it does nothing but propagate hatred between cultures that do not differ so much in ideals, but in execution. In the same way that antisemitism was promoted through a gross lack of cultural understanding, we won't really recognize how misinformed the western interpretation of Islam is until there is a massacre tragic proportions. Obviously the first publicly condoned instances of torture in our nation's history is not enough to wake us up to the danger of this school of thought.
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Oh yeah, TiredofWesterners, I forgot one thing...the soldiers were captured on tape smiling and laughing after their bulldozer ran over Corrie twice. Is that what it says to do in the Torah after you take someone's life, accidentally or on purpose? Is this what you hold up to me to show how great the radical Zionists are compared to the radical Muslim? You're all the same, murderers, who think that God is on your side. You have no shame.
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