File Name: islam and security in .zip
It is far too easy to focus on individual acts of terrorism and extremism, and ignore the global patterns in such violence. The Burke Chair at CSIS has assembled a wide range of indicators that help quantify and explain these patterns, and that look beyond the crises of the moment to examine longer term trends. They include a range of tables, graphs, and maps that help put the global patterns of terrorism in perspective, and that show the relationships between extremist and terrorist movements, the reject of such movements by the vast majority of Muslims, and the critical role that Muslim states play as strategic partners in the fight against such movements.
Any analysis of the patterns in terrorism faces major challenges simply because of the lack of reliable and comparable data, and the tendency to compartmentalize analysis to deal with given threats, nations, and regions. The problem becomes much greater when the analysis attempts to deal with issues as controversial as the links between Islam, extremism, and terrorism. It is equally easy to avoid analyzing the links between extremist violence and Islam in order to be politically correct or to avoid provoking Muslims and the governments of largely Muslim states.
The end result is to ignore the reality that most extremist and terrorist violence does occur in largely Muslim states, although it overwhelmingly consists of attacks by Muslim extremists on fellow Muslims, and not some clash between civilizations. If one examines a wide range of sources, however, a number of key patterns emerge that make five things very clear:. The analysis draws on a wide range of sources to illustrate these trends and how the global patterns in terrorism and violence interact with Islam.
It cannot overcome the lack of consistent and reliable data in many key areas, or the fact that many key factors do not lend themselves to summary quantification and trend analysis.
It is also impossible to go into depth in analyzing the individual the trends in Islam and extremism in a broad overview of global trends, or to highlight all of the limits in the quality and reliability of the data available.
State Department uses in drafting its annual country reports on terrorism. While there is no agreement between open source databases in terms of numbers, there does seem to be broad agreement as to the direction and intensity of most trends. Uncertain as the numbers may be, the vectors in these numbers do seem to reflect many areas of consensus. It also draws on a wide range of other materials to reflect recent polling of Muslim opinion, data on the broader divisions that lead to violence and extremism in much of the Muslim world, and various official sources to show the trends in the current "wars" on terrorism, the degree to which partnerships between Muslim and non-Muslim states form the core of the effort to defeat extremism, and the extent to which the rise of extremism ensures that it may take several decades of active security partnerships to end the threat.
The first section of the report makes it clear that the patterns of extremist violence are dominated by violence in largely Muslim states and by extremist movements that claim to represent Islamic values. It shows that the START database counts a total of 70, terrorist incidents between and the end of More broadly, even if Afghanistan is added to the total for Iraq and Syria, the three major countries where the U.
Defeating today's key perpetrators is critical, but it in no way will defeat the longer term threat. The second section of the report draws on a range of polls to put these statistics on incidents into perspective. There is no poll of opinion in every Muslim or Arab state, and many of the polls available—including the ones in this report—have serious flaws and limitations.
Nevertheless, the polling data still seem good enough—and consistent enough—to show that the vast majority of Muslims do not support extremist violence, and that their primary concerns are jobs, the quality of governance, security, and the same practical values shared by non-Muslims. Moreover, for all the talk of "foreign fighters," even the high estimates in the media represent a negligible portion of the total number of young men who might join in such movements.
Arab youth do not support extremist violence. Moreover, the small portion that does in given countries in given polls is often reacting to a crisis in Israeli-Palestinian relations or some other major incident, and that limited support tends to drop sharply when it no longer is driven by the heat of the moment. At the same time, it warns that the rejection of extremism and terrorism does not there was popular support for many U.
Casualties in the U. No one can condone or ignore the numbers killed in the U. For example, there were deaths in Europe and all of the Americas between January 1, and July 16, There were 28,—or 43 times more deaths—in other regions—most of them consisting of largely Islamic countries.
Almost all of the human impact of extremist attacks is Muslims killing or injuring fellow Muslims. Seven of the ten countries with the most terrorist attacks in had vast Muslim majorities, and the death and injuries in the other three involve large numbers of Muslim deaths. The vast majority of suicide and vehicle attacks came from "Islamist" extremist groups that killed Muslims in largely Muslim countries. The fifth section makes it clear that most governments in largely Muslim states are actively moving to suppress religious extremism in their country.
State Department Country Reports on Terrorism and Treasury Department lists of designated groups and individuals funding terrorism show both major progress in largely Muslim states in fighting extremism and limiting the funding and support of extremist groups and that much more needs to be done.
At the same time, work by the Pew Trust highlights the fact that many largely Muslim states have placed growing limits on extremist preaching and religious activity. This necessarily interferes with freedom of religion and speech, and given states often exert excessive limits and control, but vague charges that such governments are failing to act do not reflect the real-world actions of many—if not most—governments in largely Muslim states.
The sixth section provides a short case state in the dangers of Islamophobia. Polling data illustrate the degree to which American Muslims show consistent loyalty and support for the U. It also shows that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the U.
The data also show that American Muslims have seen some slight rises in the violent impact of Islamophobia. The risks of becoming a U.
Islamist violence still produces more deaths, but FBI reporting shows that anti-Muslim hate crimes produce higher levels of overall violence, rape, and serious injury. The data and trend charts in the seventh section provide a wide range of metrics showing the other pressures that divide largely Muslim states, and that can drive their populations towards extremism. Each can be a study in itself, but it is clear that many Muslims feel their governments are corrupt and that secular options fail to protect them and provide adequate future opportunities.
Population pressure and corruption are critical factors, as are ethnic and sectarian divisions and hyperurbanization. Youth lack jobs and opportunity in many states, and per capita incomes are sometimes critically low.
The eighth section of the report highlights two key factors in dealing with the threat of "Islamist" extremism. First, almost all of the states with large Muslim majorities have governments that already cooperate with the U. These strategic partnerships are critical to containing the threat and limiting its impact outside the countries where it is now centered.
Second, the need for lasting strategic partnerships with Muslim states is reinforced by key demographic trends on a global basis.
Work by the Pew Research Center estimates that the total number of Muslims will increase from 1. Dividing the world on a religious basis, or even seriously alienating a substantial portion of the world's Muslims could create all too real a clash between key elements of the global population and economy. The trend charts in this section reinforce the points made in the previous sections about the enduring threat that extremism and instability poses to the Islamic world and the state outside it.
When they are compared to the previous trend data on incidents and deaths, they show that Al Qaida, ISIS, the Taliban, and the other main targets of today's anti-terrorism and anti-extremist efforts are only a comparatively limited part of even current threats. The data in this section of this report documents major progress in fighting ISIS and a major joint military effort between a US led coalition and host country allies.
It also, however, highlights the lack of any clear grand strategy to bring security and stability to Syria and Iraq.
Defeating extremist organizations like Al Qaida, ISIS, and Al Nusra will be a critical step in limiting the threat, but even near total defeat of today's major perpetrators will leave major cadres and large numbers of fighters. As yet, there are no indications that such defeats will be followed by recovery and reform efforts that will bring lasting security and stability to the divisions within Syria and Iraq shown in this section.
Extremist groups will remain, governance and economic development will be weak and divided, ethnic and sectarian differences will be critical, and the outside role of powers like Iran, Russia, and Turkey will be deeply divisive.
Limited tactical victories are no substitute for a meaningful grand strategy that addresses the lasting outcome of such victories. The trend data in this section show that even tactical success is uncertain in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Again, there is no clear indication of the capability to build on the defeat of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other extremist groups to bring lasting security and stability to either Afghanistan or Pakistan. The final section in the report provides a different kind of warning.
It shows that the cost of failing to create effective strategic partnerships can be far greater and more destabilizing even if such partnerships only really address a limited part of a nation's tensions and divisions and focus almost exclusively on security.
Yemen is only one such case study. Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, and a number of Sub Saharan African countries already present similar challenges. Contact H. Skip to main content. Download the Report. Written By. Media Queries. Most Recent From Anthony H. Cordesman Commentary. March 11, On Demand Event. March 10, March 2, February 16, January 27, January 19, In the News.
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