Ten Percent of Muslims Are Terrorists? That’s the Population of Iran, Syria, Sudan, Lebanon and Somalia – Combined

The latest anti-Muslim propaganda coming from the Republican Party’s Fox network is a suggestion by the network’s resident Mormon televangelist Glenn Beck that 10 percent of Muslims worldwide are terrorists.

GLENN BECK: What is the number of Islamic terrorists? One percent? I think it’s closer to 10 percent, but the rest of the PC world will tell you ‘oh no, it’s minuscule.’ Okay, well, let’s take you at your one percent. Look at the havoc of one percent of Muslims causing on the rest of the world!

This claim is so ridiculous that it stands as a tragic indictment of our times that it even has to be addressed. But, just in case it comes up at family events over the holidays, here goes.

As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria noted yesterday, there about 1.57 billion Muslims worldwide. If 10 percent of them have gone to the dark side, that means the world population of islamic terrorists is 157 million.

That’s a lot of terrorists. By comparison, the population of the southern United States is precisely half that number: 78 milion.

But more to the point, 157 million is more than the combined populations of Iran (75 million), Sudan (43 million), Lebanon (4 million), Syria (22 million) and Somalia (9 million) — they total up to 153 million. Beck’s number is also 17 million shy of the population of Pakistan, which has 170.6 million people.

As ever, Muslim-bashing on Fox is ironic, considering that after the Murdoch family, the second-largest investor in the GOP’s Fox channels is a Muslim prince.


ZAKARIA: Now for our “What in the World” segment. What caught my attention this week was a claim by Glenn Beck. Here he is on his show last Monday.


BECK: What’s that number? What is the number of Islamic terrorists one percent? I think it’s closer to 10 percent, but the rest of the PC world will tell you, no. It’s minuscule.


ZAKARIA: Let’s do a bit of math here. There are 1.57 billion Muslims worldwide. Take 10 percent of those Muslims and you get 157 million. That’s how many Muslim terrorists Glenn Beck is suggesting there are in the world, 157 million.

Beck wondered why this wasn’t receiving any media coverage. We’ll let me suggest one reason. It is total nonsense. A figure made up by Glenn Beck with absolutely no basis in fact. The United States State Department says there were approximately 11,000 terror attacks committed in 2009.

This was all terror attacks everybody where in the world including Afghanistan and Iraq, which are really war zones. But still, let’s do more Math. Stay with me, Glenn. Let’s be very generous and say that it took 100 people to plan and execute each of those 11,000 attacks.

In fact, most of the attacks were solo and most involving two or three people, but let’s be generous. One hundred people times 11,000 terror attacks equals 1,100,000 people. But Glenn Beck’s figure is 157 times higher than that. If in fact there are 157 million Muslim terrorists in the world. What would the other 155,900,000 of them doing last year?

We asked CNN’s National Security Analyst, Peter Bergen. Bergen has spent decades studying Muslim terrorists. He has interviewed Osama Bin Laden. He travels frequently across the world to refresh his knowledge. We found Bergen in Afghanistan. He e-mailed us to say the Beck’s estimate is off by 1,000 percent.

Bergen says most estimates would say 0.1 percent of all Muslims are terrorists or insurgents. Now after Beck made this claim, his producer got beck off on a technicality, saying, well, the dictionary.com definition of a terrorist includes people who advocate or support terrorism. Of course, the FBI, the State Department and most other organizations define terrorists in the more common sense that they are well, terrorists, but never mind. And this guy cited some polls that many don’t like us and wish us harm.

Yes, many of us have been pointing that out for over a decade now. I wrote a “Newsweek” cover I say two weeks after 9/11 titled “Why They Hate Us,” to explain that, but hating America is not the same thing as being a terrorist.

Believe me, if we had 157 million Muslim terrorists active across the world, we would be hearing more about it. But Beck made another claim in his discourse on terrorism.


BECK: You don’t think 1 percent, half a percent here in the United States of radicals, of people who want to violently overthrow the government is a problem? Of course it is. Why isn’t it receiving coverage? Why?


ZAKARIA: Well, Glenn, again, maybe because it just isn’t true. I can’t find any poll or study or shred of data that suggests that 1.5 million Americans, which is what that number would work out to, want to violently overthrow their government.

Now, there is a Pugh poll from March and some similar ones from other groups that find that about 20 percent of America is angry with the federal government. Does supporting such anger against the American government make one a terrorist?

According to Glenn Beck’s producer and his dictionary.com definition, maybe, but in that case, how would one describe a man who has been fuelling such singer against the American government on television daily for the last two years? How, in other words, would one describe Glenn Beck? We’ll be right back.


  • Amber
    December 29, 2010 - 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to first start off by saying I’ve read a few articles on Pensito Review and was impressed, and I am a student writing a research paper with some of these as sources. I’m wondering where I can get a little information on Jon Ponder and a couple other author’s work and credentials so I can use it in source justifications. Thanks!

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