The threat of radical Islam is not new, but what will we do?
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Late last month, the Manchester bombing left 22 dead and 59 injured. Over the weekend, another 7 were killed and 48 injured in London by a truck and knife attack.

It was yet another example of Muslim terrorists killing people. President Trump in his tweets over the last couple days has pushed against the London mayor's claim that there is “no reason to be alarmed” and the need for “extreme vetting” of those from seven high-risk countries.

Let’s be clear, the vast majority of Muslims live their lives in peace and are great neighbors. But that can’t take away from radical Muslims being overwhelmingly responsible for long-term violence that has been occurring around the world.

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Bombs, like the Manchester attack, are much more commonly used in terror attacks outside of the United States. Between 2014 and 2015 there were 1,761 terrorist bombings around the world that claimed the lives of at least 4 people.

 

Even though the motives aren’t known for 17 percent of the attacks, at least 80 percent are committed Muslims radicals.

From 2009 to July 2014, Russia saw 0.24 annual deaths per million from bombings with four or more fatalities.

Muslim extremists committed all of these attacks. That rate is 2.7 times higher than the death rate from mass public shootings in the United States.

In Belgium in 2016, an airport and subway bombing killed 31 people and wounded 180. The 2004 Madrid train bombing took the lives of 192 and injured about 2,000.

While the London-type attack with a vehicle where at least 4 people have been killed is still relatively rare around the world, since 2000, 80 percent of the 10 such attacks involved Islamic extremists.

Muslim radicals have also committed 40 of the worst 50 mass public shootings around the world from 1970 through May 2017 – following the traditional FBI definition of shootings in a public place, and not in connection to another crime such as robbery. Number 16 on that global list took place last June in Orlando.

That shooting, the worst in U.S. history, claimed 50 lives and 53 people were wounded also involved a Muslim who had his pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Mass shootings were excluded if they were part of a war over sovereignty or ones done by the government.

If one were to include these cases, the list would include many more attacks in such places as Israel, the Philippines, Russia, and the U.K. And the vast majority of those would have also involved Muslims.

In the case of Russia, I excluded five shootings that were part of the Russian-Chechen conflict. The most deadly was the Beslan School siege of September 1, 2004, which left 385 dead and another 783 wounded. Muslims also carried it out.

Many people mistakenly believe that the United States is somehow unique in mass public shootings, but in fact the rest of the world is much more dangerous: 24 of the worst 25, and 45 of the worst 50, occurred abroad.

The two worst attacks involved over 200 and 300 people killed in Nigeria during 2014. The third worst killed 148 people in Pakistan also in 2014.

Besides the Orlando attack, in the US there have also been the massacres by Muslims in San Bernardino, Ft Hood in 2009, Orlando, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Yet, despite Army Major Nidal Hasan yelling “Allahu Akbar” during the first Ft Hood attack and even President Obama finally referring to the massacre as a terrorist attack, some news organizations, such as the Washington Post, still refuse to count that attack as related to Muslim extremism and claim that US “mass shootings generally have nothing to do with radical Islam.”

Still other attacks have been narrowly averted. Last year, a young ISIS sympathizer planned a shooting at one of the largest churches in Detroit. An FBI wire recorded him explaining why he had targeted the church: “It’s easy, and a lot of people go there.

Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church. Plus it would make the news.” Fortunately, that ended up being only a would-be killer. There is also the Fort Dix plot in New Jersey by six Muslims that was only just prevented.

It is this concern over letting the violence in the rest of the world into the US that is behind Trump’s request to the Supreme Court to let him to temporarily delay letting people in the US from seven high-risk countries where it is difficult to properly screen people.

Despite the violence that we have seen in the US, compared to the world at large, the United States is a safe haven. Americans may not really understand the true scope of the problem. 

The fears people have of Muslim terrorists aren’t irrational fears. There is a unique problem there, and it isn’t new.

Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “The War on Guns.”


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.