Did Muslims Think Terrorism was Justified?

In “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris, there is a chapter called “The problem with Islam”, in which Islam and its many issues are written about in a comprehensive, educated passion, while not excluding the good aspects of Islam either. One of the scary points that he makes and proves is true is that some people believe that Suicide bombings, or other acts of violence against civilians, are justifiable in order to protect Islam from its enemies.

This claim is supported by the image above which was taken from the same chapter of the End of Faith. The table in the image shows the results of one question from a survey conducted in 2002, called the “What the World Thinks in 2002”. The question asked which formed this table was asked to only Muslims, in all the countries in the left column. The Muslims were asked, “Are suicide bombings in the defense of Islam Justified?”. The results are shocking. A majority of Muslims in Lebanon and the Ivory Coast said it was justified, while over 10 out of 100 surveyed from each other country also said it was justified. These numbers are terrifying since a large percentage of Muslims are shown to think suicide bombings, in order to protect religion, or OK, even though none of the Muslims surveyed were from the Middle-East. This meant that there were many Muslims in 2002 that believed that suicide bombing was OK, and therefore it meant that there may have been good reason to be worried if around Muslim people in these listed countries.

However bad the data may make Muslims seem to people who aren’t strong believers in the Islamic Faith, it is important to take this data with a grain of salt. The most important thing is that this survey was almost done 20 years ago, and therefore it’s unlikely to be a accurate representation of how Muslims in these countries think today. In addition, in most countries a majority of the people either said that suicide bombing was not justified if done to protect Islam, or that they didn’t know/didn’t want to say. A majority of Muslims not saying that the violence is justified is a good thing which sparks hope that the people in these countries have most likely changed for the better in the years since 2002.

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