It’s old news, but going through my e-mail, I see that one of my readers (Mike H. from Irvine) pointed me to this L.A. Times op-ed that was published when I was on vacation. The op-ed argues that Muslims really love women’s rights and hate terrorism. But it leaves out a few facts.
The authors tell us: “Anti-Muslim sentiment fuels misinformation, and is fueled by it — misinformation that is squarely contradicted by evidence.” The authors go on to dispute the notions that, for example, Muslims are against equal rights for women, or that they support terrorism:
For instance, Gallup found that 72% of Americans disagreed with this statement: “The majority of those living in Muslim countries thought men and women should have equal rights.” In fact, majorities in even some of the most conservative Muslim societies directly refute this assessment: 73% of Saudis, 89% of Iranians and 94% of Indonesians say that men and women should have equal legal rights. Majorities of Muslim men and women in dozens of countries around the world also believe that a woman should have the right to work outside the home at any job for which she is qualified (88% in Indonesia, 72% in Egypt and even 78% in Saudi Arabia), and to vote without interference from family members (87% in Indonesia, 91% in Egypt, 98% in Lebanon).
Well, that’s just peachy. But the fact remains that, according to the Washington Post, “Saudi Arabia follows a strict version of Islam that bans men and women from mingling and does not allow women to drive or travel without a male guardian’s permission.” In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to vote. And if they get raped, they may end up getting lashed.
I could go on and on about this, but there is another misleading aspect of the op-ed to address:
What about Muslim sympathy for terrorism? Many charge that Islam encourages violence more than other faiths, but studies show that Muslims around the world are at least as likely as Americans to condemn attacks on civilians. Polls show that 6% of the American public thinks attacks in which civilians are targets are “completely justified.” In Saudi Arabia, this figure is 4%. In Lebanon and Iran, it’s 2%.
Once again, that’s lovely to see . . . but riddle me this: how is it, then, that a poll of Palestinians by an independent Palestinian group showed that “68 percent said they approved of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, down slightly from 74 percent in December”?
If attitudes are really as depicted in this op-ed, I’m happy to hear it. Now how’s about making reality even slightly consistent with those attitudes?