The Magazine

Just Like Us! Really?

Gallup says only 7 percent of the world's Muslims are political radicals. Yet 36 percent think the 9/11 attacks were in some way justified.

May 12, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 33 • By ROBERT SATLOFF
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MOGAHED: Yes, we lumped these two and did our analysis. When we had enough data to really see when things broke away, here's what we found: Fives looked very different from the Fours, and Ones through Fours looked similar. [Mogahed then explained that, on another question, concerning suicide bombing, respondents who said 9/11 was only partially justified clustered with those who said it wasn't justified at all.] And so the Fives looked very different; they broke, they clustered away, and Ones through Fours clustered together. And that is how we decided to break them apart and decided how we were to define "politically radicalized" for our research.

Yes, we can say that a Four is not that moderate .  .  . I don't know. .  .  .You are writing a book, you are trying to come up with terminology people can understand. .  .  . You know, maybe it wasn't the most technically accurate way of doing this, but this is how we made our cluster-based analysis.

So, there it is--the smoking gun. Mogahed publicly admitted they knew certain people weren't moderates but they still termed them so. She and Esposito cooked the books and dumbed down the text. Apparently, by the authors' own test, there are not 91 million radicals in Muslim societies but almost twice that number. They must have shrieked in horror to find their original estimate on the high side of assessments made by scholars, such as Daniel Pipes, whom Esposito routinely denounces as Islamophobes. To paraphrase Mogahed, maybe it wasn't the most technically accurate way of doing this, but their neat solution seems to have been to redefine 78 million people off the rolls of radicals.

The cover-up is even worse. The full data from the 9/11 question show that, in addition to the 13.5 percent, there is another 23.1 percent of respondents--300 million Muslims--who told pollsters the attacks were in some way justified. Esposito and Mogahed don't utter a word about the vast sea of intolerance in which the radicals operate.

And then there is the more fundamental fraud of using the 9/11 question as the measure of "who is a radical." Amazing as it sounds, according to Esposito and Mogahed, the proper term for a Muslim who hates America, wants to impose Sharia law, supports suicide bombing, and opposes equal rights for women but does not "completely" justify 9/11 is .  .  . "moderate."

Could the smart people at Gallup really believe this? Regardless, they should immediately release all the data associated with their world poll and open all the files and archives of their Center for Muslim Studies to independent inspection. With a dose of transparency and a dollop of humility, the data just might teach something useful to the world's six billion citizens.

Robert Satloff is the executive director of the Washington Institute
for Near East Policy.