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Poll! Is Islam a threat to America?(20 posts)

Poll! Is Islam a threat to America?czardonic
Feb 13, 2003 1:40 PM
I've take some criticism for characterizing "most Americans" as having a dim view of Islam. Specifically, I said "most Americans assume that all Muslims are de-facto "Islamo-fascist(s)" who are lax in their opposition to terrorism and have a natural and implacable enmity towards freedom in general and America in particular."

Based on what I have read and seen in the media (which in my case primarily means MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, Salon, and The Nation -- not the broadest sample but hardly one-sided), my impression is that most Americans view Islam as a threat to America. On this very board I have heard people characterize Islam as an inherently violent, repressive, misogynistic and intolerant faith. Isolated examples of terrorist affiliated Mosques in the United States and United Kingdom are cited as evidence that Islam has designs on destruction of the Western World. The current state of Middle East is assumed to signify that Islam is simply incapable of fostering free and peaceful society.

I'd be happy to learn that these views are not typical of the "average" American, or even the average visitor to this board. So what say you?

In your estimation, what percentage of Americans view Islam as a threat?

Bonus question: Do you personally feel that Islam a particular threat to America? Why or Why not?

In case you are wondering, I think that Muslims on the whole are no different than non-Muslims. The vast majority are peace-loving, hard working people who love their families and have no desire to fight their neighbors. As with any other creed, there are those among them who are power-hungry and willing to inflame and exploit the passions of others to further their goals.
Feb 13, 2003 2:05 PM
I cant give a percentage, but I can tell you that most americans dont really think critically enough about the news they are fed. Islam doesn't present any threat to America. What poses a threat to America is American Foreign Policy. Fundamentalist Islamic militants solely feed off that.
Feb 13, 2003 2:38 PM
How can you possibly expect someone to answer, with any validity, a question like "what percentage of Americans view Islam as a threat?", even if you do ask for their "personal estimation"? There is no way to know that without the benefit of polling data. Even that is subject to fairly severe limitations, as we have discussed in the past. Perhaps a better way to phrase the question might be "Do you view Islam as a threat?"

As scary as you might think it is, and as much as you may want to flee from your opinion after reading this, I agree with your take on the question.

I'm not trying to establish any definitive answer.czardonic
Feb 13, 2003 4:34 PM
I just wanted to see if my impression, regardless of its accuracy, was completely baseless. And in my defense, I did ask people if they personally felt that Islam was a threat.

As for you agreeing on my take, the fact that you and I agree on anything suggests to me that it isn't completely out of left field (so to speak).
Is alcohol a threat to our health....sn69
Feb 13, 2003 4:30 PM
No, but if it is used incorrectly and/or abused it most certainly is. I agree with your basic assessment that the average Muslim is a human being just like any other.

Nonetheless, Fundamentalist Islam is the vehicle of choice in the current age for region totalitarianism, political change, societal oppression and terrorism. To a lesser extent, so too is any fundamentalist religious movement--be it white supremacy, Aum Shinrikyo, Lubovich Judiasm, etc.

The issue isn't one that Islam is to blame or is the cause of the world's problems. Rather, I think the common denominator with that tends to lie in either megalomanical totalitarianism or in abject poverty that breeds irrational anger.

The fact remains, however, that Fundamentalist Islam preaches race and religious hatred every bit as much as does the Klan or the Neo Nazis. ...Only FI has a target audience of more than a billion.

Is Islam a threat to America. No. Is America a threat to Islam. No.

But there are facets of both that threaten one another.
No, but I'll tell you what53T
Feb 13, 2003 5:04 PM
I have had enough of countries based on religion. Many of these terrorist-sponsoring states are Islamic Republics. I don't like that at all. I would like to see the UN condemn all Islamic republics, and the one Jewish Republic on the basis of religious freedom as a basic human right.

The American conciousness (TV news) has missed this concept completely. We overthrew King George in American partly becuase of the state sponsorship of religion, we should oppose it today as well.
No, but I'll tell you whatwookieontherun
Feb 13, 2003 5:12 PM

Umm you have your facts pretty far off base. That is blind patriotism without all the facts. Main reason people wanted the English out of the US- didn't want to pay taxes to the king anymore. Had very very little to do with Englsih religion.

Oh and the notion that we've had enough of other countries doing something culturally different than ours is entirely ethnocentric.
I disagree, and your post has no facts, just interpretations.53T
Feb 14, 2003 6:26 AM
Religious freedom was so trivial that we listed it first in out Bill of Rights? Why did the Pilgrims come here in the first place? Taxes? My ass, they had no money anyway. They came because they were religous nuts, and the crown would not tolerate their blasphemy. They were still Christian, but not the right type of Christian.

State sponsorship of religion is more than a cultural difference. If a country had laws requiring parents to eat their young we would condemn them, it's a basic human rights issue, not a "cultural difference".

BTW, how the hell can you diffrentiate between blind patriotism and patriotism? Do you simply object to all patriotism? You have no idea of my background, or of the facts and experiences on which I base my patriotism.
I think P.J. O'Roark said it best.Sintesi
Feb 13, 2003 7:16 PM

"Muslims are the kindest, gentle, most polite, urbane, civilized people on the face of the earth. But, get a bunch of them together and shove a Koran down their pants and the city goes up in flames."

Something like that. : )

Personally I have a problem with any person who doesn't respect the right of the individual to chose his own life. So a Muslim that punishes his daughter for not wearing an abaya is a jerk. A snake handling CHristian creep who thinks the Bible is the literal word of God and believes the Muslims, gays and commies are going to burn in eternal hellfire is a jerk. So I do have a problem with a lot of Muslim countries and a considerable number of my own countrymen. Thank God for the Constitution. People need to wake up. BTW, I don't think countries have these rights to go around unmolested, only people. I think constitutional democracy is the only way and will be the way in the future.
Does being a just threat justify war?PdxMark
Feb 14, 2003 10:06 AM
What percentage of Americans view Islam, at large, as a threat? Probably the same 25% right-wing base that views liberal thought as a threat.

As for me, it's not Islam that's a threat, but rather a tiny minority of fundamentalist and/or totalitarian and/or psychopathic leaders who are empowered by creating conflict with the US/West. Fundamentalist and/or totalitarian and/or psychopathic leaders of any faith are a threat.

But now to drift the thread a bit... Iraq poses a threat by having (we'll assume) WMD. The post-9/11 Bush Doctrine establishes that the US has the right to attack states that pose a threat. Of course, if applied globally, that would mean that Iraq would be justified in attacking the US due to the threat we pose to Iraq.

So what keeps Iraq from gassing American or Israeli cities first - if he can? Or after the war starts? Does Iraq have any reason to hold back ANYTHING under the current situation? It seems that our war, being preemptive rather than retaliatory, merely provides justification for any degree of response or preemptive attack that Iraq can muster. The resulting war to be launched by the US will be the same either way - seeking total and complete control of Iraq.
YesCaptain Morgan
Feb 14, 2003 10:31 AM
It is not just the fact that Iraq HAS them, but has INTENT on using them, and has done so on numerous occasions. There are many countries that have WMD, but the Bush Doctrine does not imply that we will "cleanse" the world of all WMD, just the regimes that have the intent and means to use them.
Iraq used them on IRAN (& Iragi Kurds) 15+ yrs ago...PdxMark
Feb 14, 2003 11:53 AM
Why do the pro-war folks keep citing events 15-20 years ago, when we were supporting Iraq in its war with Iran? What evidence is there of CURRENT intent to use them against the US? Any eveidence will do to show an imminent threat, but GWB has not even TRIED to show current intent - other than Saddam being generally evil. Justifying a war now based on past use of chemical weapons against Iran amounts to us switching sides in the Iran-Iraq war 15 years after it ended.

The case could be made that with no evidence of Iraqi proliferation of WMD in over 20 years, that the track record points to Iraq not being a threat to the US. Try as we could, no link could connect the anthrax events to Iraq.

As for the "means to use them," Iraq has no delivery system that can reach the US. The only means is giving the WMD to terrorists. So delivery means is not a limit on the Bush Doctrine because mere possession by anyone equals possible delivery by terrorists.

Finally, no-one has even hinted that we are launching this war to protect Israel or any other allies from direct military use of Iraqi WMDs. The perceived "identified" threat is to the US.

Saddam is a dangerous, visous man who can wreck terrible havoc on his neighbors. But that does not mean he is threatening to attack the US.
Let's get the facts straightCaptain Morgan
Feb 14, 2003 2:15 PM
" evidence of Iraqi proliferation of WMD in over 20 years."

This is your first inaccurate statement of your post. The U.N. continued to find and destroy WMD as late as 1998, up to the day they were kicked out. If my math serves me correctly, that is 5 years (2003 minus 1998), not 20. (I will not even address the possibility that the CIA has current evidence of mobile weapons laboratories in Iraq today, since neither you nor I are privy to those reports).

Secondly, you talk about delivery systems. It is not simply the POSSESSION. There are numerous countries with possession, but the INTENT must also be there. I doubt you are insinuating that Bush would target India just because they have possession, because they obviously don't have the intent.

Lastly, regarding Sadam not threatening the U.S., it is public knowledge that he ordered the attempted murder of a former U.S. president, GHWB, so don't support Sadam based on his congenial policies.

If you want to support an evil man like this, perhaps you would be better served by living over there and seeing what life in Iraq is truly like. If not, then at least face the facts.
Let's learn what proliferation means...PdxMark
Feb 14, 2003 5:20 PM
It means spreading the weapons -- passing the weapons on to someone else... possibly for delivery to the US. Possession is not proliferation. Your math is better than your vocabulary.

What evidence is there that Iraq has passed any WMD to anyone else? Our government concluded that the anthrax was not Iraqi. If it were Iraqi, of course we should retaliate. The recipe for the ricin in London is on the internet. North Korea built its nukes with no apparent Iraqi help. Where is the evidence that Iraq is p-r-o-l-i-f-e-r-a-t-i-n-g WMD? You're the fact guy. I'm all ears.

Your affirmation that India lacks intent to deliver WMD to the US is not proof that Iraq has the intent. If facts are the point you are trying to make, show us where Iraq has threatened to use WMD on the US or its people. Any evidence... you are the fact man. If there is an identifiable threat of Iraqi intent to use WMD against the US, then we should attack. But all we've been told is that Iraq HAS the WMD and COULD pass them to terrorists. COULD is not INTENT to do something.

If the attempted murder of GHWB is the threat to US interests underlying this war, then lets say so and discuss the merit of the war on those terms. GWB hasn't said that's the reason. Only the cynically hyper-liberal have, and now you... Do you really believe that's why we're going to war? Is that the only threat you can come up with?

Finally, the fact that I question the lack of justification for the US initiating a war does not mean that I "support" Saddam. It means that I expect the US to live up to the principles it stands for. Launching a war against another country without adequate justification is morally wrong. Preemptive war is generally morally suspect and so deserves crystal clear justification.

What you've said so far is that Iraq used WMD 20 yrs ago (before GWI) and that Iraq tried to murder GHWB. That's all you've come up with - oh, and that India doesn't have the intent to nuke the US. You actually want the US to launch a war on the basis of that threat?

Also, if my little bit of doubt is so threatening to you that you think I should live "over there", I have to wonder what aspects of American ideals you think you live up to. Is it the right to blindly follow a leader into a war for which you can't even state the justification? Is it the right to justify a war simply on the "evil" of the other side's leader?

Those reasons aren't good enough for me. I kinda need a direct imminent threat of attack, or an actual attack, on the US or an ally - to justify war. GWI is an example. Try as I might, I haven't been able to find any US statement that Iraq poses a direct imminent threat of attacking the US. And so far, I don't think you've pointed out how Iraq poses a direct imminent threat of attacking the US. You and I must simply have different standards for justifying the US starting a war.
Let's get the vocabulary correctCaptain Morgan
Feb 14, 2003 6:19 PM
Not to belabor the point, but the word proliferation has nothing to do with passing them on to a third party. The following is a cut and paste from Webster's

1. To grow or multiply by rapidly producing new tissue, parts, cells, or offspring.
2. To increase or spread at a rapid rate: fears that nuclear weapons might proliferate.

First, do not underestimate the seriousness of murdering an ex-President. That would be a major worldwide event. The repercussions on the financial markets, economy, consumer confidence, foreign policy, etc. would be tremendous.

Secondly, Sadam himself used WMD in 1988, which is 15 years ago. Are you implying that he has changed his ways? Also, do you honestly believe the man when he says he has not been developing weapons? Why would you believe this man over officials from your own country? That is why I added my comment about living over in Iraq. I wonder how an American can support a man who gasses his own people and kills his sons-in-laws and attempts to murder his own children, even if it was 15 years ago. Sorry if I am off base on this one.

Why would he develop WMD? Furthermore, the weapons that were already verified by the inspectors in 1998 were measured not in ounces, or pounds, but rather in TONS.

Do you think the Gulf War was justified? Well, part of the cease fire was that he agreed to destroy weapons. By 1998 when the inspectors were kicked out, they were still finding them. Shouldn't the terms of the cease fire be enforced?

You say it is unjustified, and I (along with the majority of Americans) say it is. We won't change the other's opinion.
re: They arent our threat their a threat to Israeljrm
Feb 14, 2003 10:16 AM
Through media depiction controlled by a jewish media, speech retrotic and our actions in the middle east, primarily supporting isreals policy of settlements in palestin, Non NATO, IAEA compliace as israel arms its self with nukes, bio and chemical weapons.

As of this morning, unlike what our government has told us, all islamic nations inthe middle east support Iraqs cooperation with the UN.
Sounds Pretty Anti-semiticAlpedhuez55
Feb 14, 2003 10:56 AM
"Through media depiction controlled by a jewish media, speech retrotic and our actions in the middle east, primarily supporting isreals policy of settlements in palestin, Non NATO, IAEA compliace as israel arms its self with nukes, bio and chemical weapons."

JRM, where are you getting that? It sounds pretty paranoid. Have you been visiting Neo-Nazi white power websites? Or maybe it was from some of those Radical Islamic Websites that say all the Jews evacuated the WTC before the planes flew into them.

The mainstream media has hardly been in support of Bush in this matter. Now there is supposed to be a Jewish Media pro-Bush/Israel Bias? Give me a break!!!

Mike Y.
Hear! Hear!Sintesi
Feb 15, 2003 8:08 AM
I'm so sick of this conspiracy crap. The Jewish cabal controlling our minds. Give me a break too! And I swear if the US wasn't Israel's friend they would have been wiped from the face of the earth. What these people have been through in this century is as bad as it can get and people still want them to suffer. What do they have to do? move to Antarctica? Take avow of silence and never speak for themselves? Really how bad does it have to get before they get any sympathy?

I agree the settlements in Palestine are wrong and Sharon's policies are causing enormous hurt and hardship on the Palestinians (I think it's high time Arafat and Sharon both retired) but I also know these people have had their backs against the all for the last 70 years. If the world wants this to stop then they have to get involved and make it happen. If the UN had any backbone they would have got between these two peoples years ago, isolated the nutcases on both sides, and forced them to work towards peace(don't think for a second it wouldn't work either). Instead they make proclamations, wag their fingers and shake their heads. Don't blaim Israel for being scared, paranoid and doing whatever they think they have to to survive. These are a desperate people who've faced the worst and shouldn't be blamed for pleading their case to the only country that seems to give a crap about them.
just the socialist ones nmDougSloan
Feb 14, 2003 3:43 PM
It's not Islam!Alexx
Feb 15, 2003 12:26 PM
The problem is that FUNDAMENTALISM of any religion is bad for society.