When myths take on an air of authenticity, society is in danger.
According to Europol’s EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, out of 249 terrorist attacks carried out in the EU in 2010, only three were related to Muslims.
A January 2011 report on terrorism statistics based on publicly available data from bodies such as the FBI and other US crime agencies concluded that terrorism by Muslim Americans to date had accounted for a minority of terrorist plots since 9/11.
What all this points to is myth serving as propaganda, the goal of which is inciting violence and hatred. In the USA recently, celebrity Islamophobe Pamela Geller sponsored adverts to be posted on New York subway platforms saying, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
If the adverts weren’t so putrid with hatred, they would be impressive for the number of myths they manage to pack into so few words.
The United Methodist Women sponsored adverts to be posted side by side with these saying: “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.” Rabbis for Human Rights-North America posted adverts saying: “In the choice between love and hate, choose love.” And the Christian group Sojourners have bought signs to say: “Love your Muslim neighbours.”
What is heartening—and the other plank of countering myths—is the solidarity shown across multiple sectors of the US public in tackling such raving nonsense.