The Rosett Report

Al-Jazeera Arithmetic and the Pope's Speech

“Thousands Rally Against Pope Speech,” reports Al-Jazeera, citing as evidence of worldwide protest a march by about 2,000 offended Palestinians in the Gaza strip (so what’s new?), and quoting Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya as saying “The Pope should revise his comments and stop attacking Islam, which is the religion of more than 1.5 billion people.” This kind of billing may of course whip up more street protests. But at the moment, what’s really going on with these numbers? Even assuming, just to be generous, and for ease of calculation, that it was actually 3,000 Palestinians who marched, not just 2,000, then what Al-Jazeera is actually reporting is that worldwide, out of every one million Muslims, only about two have taken to the streets — repeat, 2 out of every 1,000,000.

Maybe the headline should have been: “About .0002% of World’s Muslims Rally Against Pope Speech.”