The Pew’s foray into fantasy
So, Andy McCarthy reports on the Pew Research Center’s survey on “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics, and Society.” The world’s Muslims, mind you. That’s a capacious group. The bottom line: things are not so bad, really. Yes, two thirds of those interviewed support the death penalty — the death penalty, Kemo Sabe — for apostasy from Islam. But only one third support suicide bombings. Yay! And the main take-away is that Muslims' views about sharia, i.e., Islamic law, should calm the nerves of Islamophobic neanderthals like, er, well, like me. Sure, those interviewed overwhelmingly support the imposition of sharia, but sharia, we are told in the best lullaby tone, is not so bad. “Unlike codified Western law,” you see, “sharia is a loosely defined set of moral and legal guidelines based on the Koran, the sayings of Prophet Mohammad (hadith) and Muslim traditions. Its rules and advice cover everything from prayers to personal hygiene.”
“Prayers to personal hygiene.” Let’s see, what does that leave out? Oh, right. Jihad! Remember jihad? The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist front group charged with putting the smily faces on the activities of their Muslim brethren, has waged a risible PR effort to convince people that jihad has more to do with achieving your personal best than with blowing things up. But no sane person believes that. “Jihad” is what the boys in Boston were up to a few weeks ago shen they detonated those pressure-cooker bombs, murdering and maiming scores.
But the “see-no-evil,” “let’s-not-be-beastly-to-the-Muslims” song that the Pew’s report attempts to sing is not the only thing wrong with it. There is also the “huge” flaw that McCarthy notes. This world-wide survey of Muslims is not world wide. It leaves out one or two spots. Saudi Arabia, for example. And Iran. And India. And China. And the Sudan. Etc. In other words, this survey of Muslim attitudes leaves out some of the most toxic Muslim countries. What sort of survey is that?
Perhaps the only thing in this story more preposterous than the survey itself is the response to McCarthy’s critical post by James Bell, director of international survey research for the Pew Research Center. Mr. Bell complains that McCarthy didn’t appreciate Pew’s good efforts. Countries like Saudia Arabia, Iran, an the Sudan were left out of the survey not because of “any lack of desire on our part. We wanted very much to survey in these countries, and we regret that we were unable to do so.” Oh. I see. And why was that? Well, because “we were unable to conduct surveys in some places with large Muslim populations — including India and China as well as Saudi Arabia — where political sensitivities or security concerns prevented opinion research among Muslims.” Ah.
Well, that’s all right then. But again, why was that? “In some situations, asking questions about religious beliefs and practices can make people suspicious, agitated, even hostile. We were advised that in parts of India, for example, asking people about their religious identity might be seen as stoking communal tensions — and this, in turn, could put the safety of interviewers at risk.”
Whoa. “Could put the safety of the interviewers at risk”? What sort of place would that be? Possibly, just possibly, a barbaric Islamic hell-hole where people cannot hear the word “survey” without reaching for the scimitar (or modern equivalent)?
What Mr. Bell has really said is that his survey is totally worthless, a complete waste of time and money. Actually, it's worse. By providing a distorted and untruthful picture of Islam it lulls its target audience—we gullible rubes in the West who are always on the lookout for some reason to accommodate and compromise (not to say capitulate).
One knowledge commentator described James Bell’s response as “laughable.” It is that. But in its shameless mendacity it is contemptible as well.