Tag Archives: Global Terrorism Index

Samuel Huntington’s “Bloody Borders” Revisited

In 1993, in a controversial essay written for Foreign Affairs titled “The Clash of Civilizations,” the influential Harvard University political scientist Samuel P. Huntington (d. 2008) wrote:

“In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders.”

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Huntington, Harvard University’s Albert J. Weatherhead University Professor. Staff Photo Jon Chase/Harvard University News Office

Critics responded swiftly. They argued that Huntington’s claim represented an unfair attack on Islam and refused to take into account other factors (such as economics, for example) beyond simple religious differences. Others rejected his particular definitions of “civilizations.” Nevertheless, a few years later, Huntington defended and stood firmly by his original comments in his 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. In it (pages 256-258), he laid out evidence that he argued “was overwhelming” in support of his thesis. He noted that while Muslims make up about one-fifth of the world’s population, “they have been far more involved in intergroup violence than the people of any other civilization.”

For his evidence, he list three primary points. Continue reading

Right Wing Extremism vs. Islamic Extremism in the United States: A Look at the Numbers

Addendum- Special thanks to The College Fix for doing a story highlighting this blog post. Their story was reported on in a number of other publications, including the Wall Street Journal- See Notable & Quotable: Extremist Math.


Recently I have noticed a lot of friends and associates posting articles on social media that claim right wing extremism is more dangerous than Islamic extremism. For many, the claim is surprising, so I thought I would take a look at the numbers to see if it is justifiable. At the outset, let me acknowledge that extremist attacks by any person on behalf of any political ideology are disturbing and must be examined and condemned. Yet it is such an important issue that an open and honest accounting of such claims is necessary.

The now oft repeated claim that right wing extremism is more dangerous to Americans than Islamic extremism is based on total deaths and excludes casualties. Moreover, such accounts limit themselves to attacks in the United States (not worldwide), and purposefully exclude the nearly 3,000 deaths (as well as the over 6,000 survivors treated at hospitals) that took place on September 11, 2001. They don’t count the 9/11 deaths as then the numbers would be extraordinarily lopsided (in terms of total U.S. deaths due to Islamic extremism vs right wing extremism) and so such claims are careful to be based only on deaths in the United States AFTER the events of 9/11.

Indeed, if you include the death totals from 9/11 in such a calculation, then there have been around 62 people killed in the United States by Islamic extremists for every one American killed by a right wing terrorist (a 62 to 1 ratio if you divide the slightly over 3000 deaths due to Islamic extremism by the 48 deaths attributed to right wing extremism).

62 to 1. Continue reading