The Vanishing Threat of American Muslim Terrorism

And by vanishing, I don’t mean that the threat is disappearing, I mean that the threat is vanishingly small and always has been. A new study finds that there is very, very little threat of terrorist attacks from American Muslims despite the efforts of overseas Muslim reactionaries to create it. My former colleague Spencer Ackerman has the details:

Try as al-Qaida might to encourage them, American Muslims still aren’t committing acts of terrorism. Only 14 people out of a population of millions were indicted for their involvement in violent terrorist plots in 2012, a decline from 2011′s 21. The plots themselves hit the single digits last year.

So much for a widespread stereotype. According to data tracked by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security in North Carolina and released Friday (.PDF), there were nine terrorist plots involving American Muslims in 2012. Only one of them, the attempted bombing of a Social Security office in Arizona, actually led to any violence. There were no casualties in that or any other incident. And the Triangle study tracks indictments, not convictions.

Terrorist incidents from American Muslims is on the decline for the third straight year. After an uptick in 2009, there were 18 plots in 2011 involving 21 U.S. Muslims. And it’s not just violent plots: Fewer Muslim-Americans are getting indicted for money laundering, material support for terrorism, and lying to investigators. There were 27 people indicted on those terror-support charges in 2010, eight in 2011 and six in 2012…

Since 9/11, Kurzman and his team tallies, 33 Americans have died as a result of terrorism launched by their Muslim neighbors. During that period, 180,000 Americans were murdered for reasons unrelated to terrorism. In just the past year, the mass shootings that have captivated America’s attention killed 66 Americans, “twice as many fatalities as from Muslim-American terrorism in all 11 years since 9/11,” notes Kurzman’s team.

You have a far higher chance of being killed by your neighbor than by a Muslim American. Out of three million or so Muslims in the U.S. and a tiny percentage of them support violence, and an even tinier percentage actually try to commit it. So small that it is virtually non-existent. But fear sells, especially fear of a conveniently dark-skinned enemy.

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