More poor Muslims than rich westerners

Oh look. Looky there. A headline on a Guardian Comment is Free post by Ben Doherty –

Pakistan attack reveals the truth about terrorism: it kills more poor Muslims than rich westerners

Golly gee, that’s exactly what I was saying in that post on Sunday that got so many people in such a (mostly fake) rage. How shockingly ideological to make that point! Why shouldn’t terrorism kill more poor Muslims than rich westerners? Why even mention it? It’s political correctness run mad.

Doherty commits the thought-crime all over again in the first paragraph. (Or, rather, he commits it too, since it was probably an editor who chose the title.)

Those who suffer most from Islamist extremism are not people in rich western nations, but other poor Muslims.

Shocking. He’s fighting class warfare by saying that. Shocking shocking.

But enough of that. His point is serious and of course it’s true. Nigeria all by itself is testimony to that, not to mention Syria and Iraq.

In 2012, there were 140 incidents of terrorism in the west. In 2013, that figure was more than 250, the increase driven by a sharp rise in attacks in Northern Ireland and Greece. Twelve people died.

But those figures are dwarfed by attacks outside the west.

In non-western countries, the increase was from 8,000 incidents in 2012 to more than 11,000 in 2013, the rise driven by continuing sectarian violence in Iraq and Pakistan, and deepening unrest in the Philippines and Egypt.

The number of non-western terrorism deaths in 2013 was over 22,000.

In November of this year, nearly 5,000 people died in Islamist fundamentalist terror attacks, the majority of those at the hands of Islamic State (Isis) or Boko Haram.

Just over half the dead were civilians, “the vast majority … Muslim,” the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation said.

The children and teachers murdered in Peshawar? It seems safe to assume they were mostly or all Muslims, culturally or observantly or anything in between. The “militants” are not there to fight for justice or equality.



  1. komarov says

    In November of this year, nearly 5,000 people died in Islamist fundamentalist terror attacks, the majority of those at the hands of Islamic State (Isis) or Boko Haram.

    Absolutely horrifying. And this almost makes it sound like those groups are trying to outcompete each other. Again and again committing greater atrocities as they vie for attention. ‘Look at me, I’m burning schools!’ – “No, look at me, I’m burning schools with everyone inside!’ Fuck off, barbarians.

  2. Steven says

    I like 99% of what you write, but you’re just being willfully obtuse here. The fact that Islamic terror hurts more Muslims than others is not a controversial statement and something that I’ve heard from people all over the political spectrum. The problem was the disdainful way you expressed yourself.

  3. says

    Not exactly. The problem was that I expressed what I took to be the likely disdain of the perpetrator, without making it clear that that was what I was doing. I rely on regular readers’ familiarity with my writing style too much, sometimes; this was one such time.

    I wasn’t expressing my own disdain, because disdain was not what I felt.

    But it’s also relevant that there are people who monitor my public writing 24/7 and will blow up any perceived misstep into a monstrous crime. That happened here too.

    And no, I’m not being willfully obtuse. D J Grothe’s tweets for instance were not solely about “the disdainful way” I expressed myself.

  4. Hj Hornbeck says

    What’s ironic is that your reliance on familiarity is one of the reasons I love this blog, Benson. It gives your writing a distinctive experimental edge that I rarely encounter elsewhere. Alas, some people can’t or won’t recognize that, and instead would rather exploit your distinctive voice to score cheap points.

  5. Funny Diva says

    Well, DUH! Ophelia:
    as a woman, it’s _obligatory_ to police your tone and make sure you know if there’s any tiny (microscopic, invisible) reason to disapprove of how you express yourself!
    As a MAN, Mr Doherty’s tone is, ipso facto, above reproach!

  6. says

    The fake outrage is completely pathetic. And, since when do the opinions of anonymous rage clowns matter? Exactly who are they pretending to protect? It must be all about policing “journalistic integrity”, yeah? Uh oh, Benson said “not even”!! What ever did she mean by those cryptic words?

    In the pursuit of fake rage, the poisoned commenters couldn’t even be bothered to check one or two other posts to grok the point of view of the writer! [If it is too hard to read, one could get someone else to read posts out loud. Just a suggestion.]

    So, how does anyone get “disdain” from one small phrase having a handful of vague words? Or, “[taking] advantage” of the siege (another stupid comment on another blog)? In point of fact, one does not get that with any normal reading. Only someone who already assumes disdain will read disdain from that few number of words.

    Frankly Ophelia, you absolutely do not owe anyone an apology, in my opinion. I would go so far as to say that an explanation isn’t necessary either. Disagreement is one thing. Deliberate misinterpretation is a completely different matter. The crank, sock-puppet troll world loves to generate their fake rage in support of nothing but the hope to shut people down or put people in their place. Well, that and lulz.

  7. says

    The media focus on the G7 victims and ignoring others (read: “they don’t matter”) is, of course, not limited to terrorism. The US cringes at the deaths of a few thousand soldiers occupying a foreign countries, but not the 500,000-1,000,000 people killed by those soldiers. A few thousand foreign tourists were hurt or killed by the Indian Ocean tsunami of ten years ago, but there was little mention or follow up on the hundreds of thousands of Thais, Indonesians, Sri Lankans and others killed nor the many more displaced and land stolen by wealthy speculators. A few transplant tourists who get sick from transplants received in poor countries get their faces on the news and the countries they got them in blamed, but not the poor in those countries who are paid a pittance for the organs or political prisoners in China who are killed on spec for the benefit of wealthy foreign patients.

    The maxim about corrupt democracies is, “one dollar, one vote”. The same goes for the reporting on who matters: one dollar, one word. People who are poor or the wrong skin colour are “irrelevant”. Only the wealthy and white “should be” talked about.

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