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“But ISIS Kills More Muslims Than Non-Muslims!”


With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, or IS), an old apologia meant to exonerate Islam of violence has become prominent again.  Because ISIS is killing other Muslims, so the argument goes, obviously its violence cannot be based on Islam, which bans Muslims from killing fellow Muslims in its name.

This point is always stressed whenever Islamic jihadis commit massacres in the West.  Speaking soon after the San Bernardino terror attack that left 14 dead, U.S. president Obama, who earlier insisted that the Islamic State “is not Islamic,” elaborated:

ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death…Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim (emphasis added).

Similarly, after last November’s Paris terrorist attack, which left 129 people dead, the UK’sIndependent published an article titled, “Paris attacks: Isis responsible for more Muslim deaths than western victims.”  And the Daily Beast argued that, “Before the Paris horror, ISIS was killing Muslims on a daily basis. We Muslims despise these crazy people more than anyone else does….  But the number one victim of this barbaric terror group is Muslims. That’s undisputed.”

Along with distancing Islam from violence—real Muslims are not supposed to kill other Muslims in the name of jihad—this argument further clouds the issue of who is the true victim of Islamic terrorism:  Why talk about the Muslim slaughter of non-Muslims—whether Western people in Paris or California, or Christian minorities under Islam—when it is Muslims who are the primary victims most deserving of sympathy?

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