Evangelical minister Franklin Graham isn't comforted by the oft-touted mantra, "Islam is the religion of peace" or by those who insist that most Muslims are peaceful people. Still, to him, there are "too many Muslims among us [who] believe in violence."
In an op-ed for USA Today, Graham uses Pew research to show that it really doesn't matter if they are mostly peaceful. With 1.6 billion Muslims, Graham states he is "glad" that the majority of Muslims wouldn't strap a bomb to themselves and blow up innocent civilians. But what about those who would support such action? Is that a reason to be concerned?
According to Pew, that answer is "yes:"
Pew asked Muslims in the U.S. under what circumstances “suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians is justified to defend Islam." Thankfully, Pew reported, Muslims mostly (86%) say such behavior is “rarely or never” justified. Whew! That means about 1.6 million Muslim adults living here say they don't approve of violence in the name of their religion...
Seven percent of Muslims in America told Pew researchers that violence against civilians is “sometimes” justified in the name of Islam, and one percent said “often.” Whoa! This means there are more than 100,000 Muslim adults living in this country who could justify a suicide bombing in the name of their religion.
Applying those percentages worldwide, Graham deduces that nearly 100 million Muslims have no problem with one of their own running over men, women, and children with a delivery truck. And that's probably a low estimate:
According to Pew, 15% or more of adults in U.S.-allied Turkey, Jordan and Egypt believe suicide bombings are sometimes or often justified. A 2006 Pew poll found that, in France, 15% of Muslims believe suicide attacks are sometimes or often justified.
"Keep in mind, this is not Fox News commentary," Graham writes, "this is how Muslims are self-identifying to Pew researchers."
"I am writing not to comment on or debate immigration policy, gun control policy, various interpretations of the Quran," he continues, "instead, I am merely commenting on the tens of thousands of Muslims in America and the more than 100 million worldwide who are not bashful about justifying suicide bombings in the name of Islam. They will tell strangers who call on the phone."
And that's not even taking into account the Muslims who approve of sharia law worldwide. Pew finds that over 80% of Muslims in Pakistan and Egypt favor stoning and amputations as punishments for adultery and theft.
Graham brings a thoughtful perspective to the "mostly peaceful" deception:
Who would knowingly and willingly accept these odds of a peaceful existence in their own family, neighborhood, workplace or church? For example, would you feel safe accepting a job at a “mostly peaceful” company of 100 employees if that meant only eight of them believed a suicide bombing was sometimes or often justified in the name of their religion (or in the name of anything, for that matter)? Would you stay at a hotel whose employees were “mostly peaceful?” Would you trust your car to not explode randomly if a company who boasted its workers were mostly peaceful had made it? Imagine a marketing slogan: “Trust us — we’re mostly peaceful.” And who would fly an airplane full of mostly peaceful passengers?
Graham also recalls a story of a Muslim convert in Britain who fired up the hearts of social justice warriors with his feel-good story. This young man protested the bombing of Syria outside of Parliament last year holding a sign that read, "I am a Muslim. I am labeled a terrorist. I trust you. Do you trust me enough for a hug?" Many took him up on the offer. How nice, right? Well, Muhammad Mujahid Islam was arrested not long after for threatening to bomb British MP Chorlotte Leslie's home, calling her a "dirty pig f***ing whore."
Then there's this, said by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a runner up for TIME's 2015 Person of the Year, revealed in an audio message by ISIS:
"Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting. No one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State. It is the war of all Muslims, but the Islamic State is spearheading it. It is the war of Muslims against infidels. O Muslims, go to war everywhere. It is the duty of every Muslim.”
Now, as a Christian, I’m sure glad that hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide would reject this religious madman’s rant. It’s the millions who apparently agree with him who terrify me.