Saturday, March 04, 2006

White Space

Dymphna’s post yesterday about my Bloody Borders Project took a large-scale, sweeping view of timeline maps of Islamic terrorist incidents. But the maps involved reward detailed examination as well.

For example, look at this section of the Old World, cut out of the world terrorism map:
Old World terrorism

Do you notice anything missing?

I see notable instances of clean, white, empty space in China, Burma, and Ethiopia, and near-white space in Iran.

The sweep of Islamist violence depicted in the maps seems to flow up against the borders of these countries and then stop. Are there no Muslims in the countries involved? According to, Iran is 99% Muslim, Ethiopia is 47.5% Muslim, and Burma has 1,716,378 of them. China is harder to figure; it is only 3% Muslim, but that means it has more than 39 million of them, mostly Uighurs living in Xinjiang province, in the far west of the country.

Ethiopia is a mystery to me — I know of no reason why it would be exempt from the Islamist violence that has plagued neighboring Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan.

Burma, aka Myanmar, is a military dictatorship which exerts strict control over all information flowing out of the country. There is undoubtedly Islamic violence in Burma — rumors to that effect occasionally emerge via refugees — but I can find no hard statistics. Undoubtedly, if all the facts were available, the sweep of blue and teal violence on the map would be continuous from Bangladesh across Burma and Thailand, jumping the straits to Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Uighurs in China are immediately adjacent to Pakistan and Kashmir, regions which are among the most intensely colored on the map. Either the Chinese are very good at keeping a lid on their restive Muslim population, or, like Burma, they are simply preventing the news of the incidents from leaving the country.

Iran, of course, is an Islamist theocracy. In a sense, every woman stoned for adultery and every student executed for blasphemy is a victim of Islamic terror. But that’s not the way the statistics are collected, so Iran is mostly white space.

Imagine what would happen, however, if the mullahs were overthrown. Expect it to be like Iraq since the fall of Saddam — rival groups of Muslims using the car bomb and the suicide killer to attempt to impose their political will on each other, while a secular government tries desperately to establish a non-despotic authority. Wait and see the map after that happens!

2002 vs. 2005And this brings us to the map of Iraq. Look at the comparison of 2002 and 2005 in the maps on the right. In 2002, Saddam still had a monopoly on violence in his country, and the map of Iraq is free of color. All of the people maimed and shredded and poisoned and shot by Saddam’s thugs aren’t listed as victims of Islam, but simply as Saddam’s victims.

Then look at 2005. The liberation of Iraq let loose the pent-up forces, and the diverse armies of the Prophet were free to have a go at each other, aided, abetted, funded, and led by opportunistic Islamist groups from outside the country.

And one final comparison to make using these two maps: Israel in 2002 vs. Israel in 2005. The latter year still saw plenty of action by Palestinian shahids — the map of Israel is still completely colored in — but the severity of incidents is significantly less. Why do you think that might be?

Something there is about a Palestinian terrorist that doesn’t love a wall.


Scott said...

I commend you on this project. It is a useful resource to track the scope and scale of Islamic violence.

Your comment on Iran being white is
rather interesting. Being that it is the ONLY regime where Islamofascists are in power today the absence of terrorist attacks is not so remarkable. However, as you point out the violence there is
state sponsored and thus does not meet the criteria used in the rest of the world. Still, to a Canadian
reporter ( of Iranian descent) being beaten to death in a Iranian
prison it might be a distinction without a difference.

Then too, I have read of Sunni militias operating in Iran and they do seem to be carrying out attacks on government forces. That,
to the Iranians no doubt is 'terrorism'. You may want to track that violence as well. It may
increase in the near future as the war between Sunni and Shia spills out of Iraq.

xavier said...

Ethopia faces a more insidious form of attack: dawa. Over at Robert Spencer's site on jihadwatch, there was an article that the Moslem misionary were particularly agressive trying to seduce the Ethipians about all the wonderful benefits of Islam. There's also a geopolitical aspect whereby Egypt had prohibited Ethopia from diverting some of the Nile so Ethipoia can lessen the effects of a drought.
Ethopia is alone and quite poor so you can imagine that it's a coveted target much like Rwanda.

ik said...

Great job Baron,

may this be spread far and wide.

Iran has recurring trouble with Arabs in Khuzestan, Kurds and Balochis - although since it is Muslim on Muslim violence it is halal - and hence not a human rights "issue"

about burma and beyond - the Indian tribes in the Northeast were extremely ferocious warriors (some are supposed to be headhunters) and repeatedly destroyed entire Islamic armies, eg see here and here

That is the reason civilization exists from Burma to Vietnam. If not for the Hindu fightback pretty much all of Asia (except maybe Japan and some parts of Northern China) would now be Islamic countries.

Also despite the bad name that Burma gets in the press as a evil dictatorship - we would rather have Burma on our borders rather than a "democratic" Malaysia

gumshoe1 said...

Baron -

t'would be appreciated
if you might be able to
link the small 2002/2005
thumbnails to a larger
side-by-side graphic.

your comment about Israel
goes by the boards with the current graphic.


GrenfellHunt said...

Great job, guys!

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Iran is an exporter :).
Other notable white blots include Turkey (crypto Islamist government combined with fiercly secular security forces), but thats one to watch.

Then Libya, Turkmenistan, Kazahstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizstan - all of which just happen to be somewhere from undemocratic to outright military dictatorships.

Also, there is some mixing of ethnic/national - based conflicts with religious motivated. Example : I believe the Chechen trouble would continue regardless if they were pagans, Buddhists or Christians. Chechenya started as a entirely nationality dispute, but the Islamic element has grown and grown. The worse things have become for the Chechens the more they have turned towards Islam, and the less backing they receive from elsewhere the more they have turned to Islamic support. Furthermore, now that the war has dragged on more than a decade, the education of the children has been hoplelssly disrupted, would not the new uneducated war generation feel a natural affiliation for a violent faith that places no value on education or tehnical skills? A vicious circle.

The Bosnian war saw similar development, with the originally not particularly muslim Bosniacs turning steadily more and more religious. The Uighurs in China are AFAIK more national/cultural than religious motivated but if it drags on we can expect Islam to grow.

I suggest that not only does Islam encourage violence and war, but that violence and war fosters Islam. Its a cancer meme.

Adaneshju said...

FWIW re: China

Nobody knows the true number of Muslims. Well, maybe someone in China does, but they're not telling.

Estimates vary extremely. Numbers from 20-200 million are not uncommon. I would personally hazard an estimate somewhere in the middle.

Probably the majority of the Muslims ARE Uighur, as you say. There have been Uighur attacks, but it should be noted too that the Uighur have a very tough situation in China. China has moved in MASSIVE numbers of Han Chinese into Western China (sometimes as punishment) in an effort to outbreed the Uighur basically. With discrimination and all that it entails.

But beyond the Uighur, there are several other groups of Muslims in China--ethnic Chinese who are Muslim, I don't have numbers for them, but you can find mosques throughout China. One of the more famous Chinese admirals I believe circa 600 years ago was a Muslim.

Mao is said to have told Nehru that China had more Muslims than India.

Anyway, mostly interesting for what is obscured..

Oh incidentally, one interesting fact--Muslims in China still have female Imams (I say still because this was the practice of Islam in the "early days")

Adaneshju said...

To the good Hindutva poster:

Just out of curiosity...I'm interested in how the Hindu fightback (can you give me a date for when this fightback took place?) protected Asia from Islam when one can find Islam west, north, and east of India (not to mention China), and from Kashmir to Kerala.

And I meant to add to my other post about China--there ARE terrorist attacks in China, but it's virtually impossible to get news of them. I've had an interest in the area for a couple years, and there HAVE been bombings within the past 5 years. I've heard rumors from Chinese friends about other unrest in Xinjiang as well, though of late the region has _seemed_ to be quiet, especially compared to some of the peasant riots elsewhere.

Adaneshju said...


You make a good point about Chechnya, but I would like to add some data.

For one, Islam is relatively new to Chechnya--conversion there took place mostly in the last 300 years (with activity occuring up to maybe 400 years ago). Islam in Chechnya has long been associated with resistance to Russia. Indeed, Islam and Sufi orders GREW in Chechnya in response and resistance to the Tsar and Russian control.

Thus as the tagline of this site--Chechnya v Russia is a new phase of an old war.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...


True - the great Caucasus resistance leader (tho' Avar not Chechen) of the 19th century was the Imam Shamil (Shamil Basayev's namesake). And then as now the Islam has grown along with the cycle of violence, repression un unenlightenment. On the other hand Dudajev, who started this cycle of resistance was very much a modernising nationalist who took the Baltic countries (particularly Estonia) as a model for what Chechenya could become. Islamization is an indication how far that little conflict has taken the North Caucasus area off the rails.

Like the Albanians or Pashtun, Chechen Islam is ofttimes subordinate to their indigenous code of honor. The grievous thing is that the war has allowed alien radical Islam (Wahhabism) to influence the Chechens - aid going together with indoctrination. Guess three times where that money and influence comes from, and who also just happens to benefit from disrupting the Russian oil industry ...

ik said...


Islam in South India was spread by Arab traders (not by conquest) - that is why the Islam in South India is so mild (compared to the Northern version) - although the Saudi funded madrassas will (already have?) take care of that. The President of India is a Tamil Muslim. When the Hindu Naionalist BJP nominated him (NOTE THIS) for President of India Rafiq Zakaria (brother of Fareed Zakaria - edior of Newspeak - oops Newsweek magazine) said that he is not a "true" Muslim - since he had read Hindu scriptures (how dare he - right?) and I think he is also a vegetarian - not completely sure(since he grew up with Hindus)

You did not bother to read the links I gave - did you? here let me provide you with an excerpt
"Starting from the invasion of Bhaktiyar Khilji in early thirteenth century to the invasions of the Mughal armies of Aurangzeb in the late seventeenth century. Assam defeated seventeen such invasions."

Similarly Islam spread in Malaysia / Indonesia through Arab traders (there is a story about a Gujarati Muslim who converted Indonesia). With Malaysia there is a story about a Hindu King who married a Muslim girl and converted to Islam (hence Malaysia -->muslim country) sorry no details (Somebody who is more familiar with that region could help out). you can see the difference if you go to Malaysia / Indonesia.

The national airline of Indonesia is called Garuda (who is the mount of the Hindu God Vishnu) - would this be occuring if Islam had been imposed on them by the Arabs? I can also read lots of Indonesian names in newspapers since a lot of them seem to be based on Sanskrit names eg. SukarnoPutri (putri - daughter) , General YUDHoyono (YUDH - war) I guess once the Saudis are thorugh with their Madrassa building in Indonesia they will be changing the name of their national airline to a more "secular" - Gibreel Farishta Airlines (or would that be insulting the pbuh?)

In order to conquer India - the two primary empires that the British had to defeat were the Marathas (hindus) and the Sikhs. The Muslims had already been defeated by then. (except for Tipu Sultan in the south)

the 1857 mutiny is when the Muslims and Hindus fought together against the British and lost (since the Sikhs supported the British as they had no intention of seeing another British empire). After that the Muslims started sucking up to the British and the British decided to rule India by supporting the Muslim minority in India (just like they did with the Sunni minority in Iraq- hey notice same formula)

First the Muslims wrote the history books - followed by the British who wanted to help out the Muslim minority - after independence the Commies took over and wrote the history books - The historical revisionists are the people who COOKED THE BOOKS in the FIRST PLACE. NOT NOT NOT the people who are trying to get at the truth. We are prepared to accept our history for what it is GOOD BAD UGLY.

Maybe someone can explain why the Muslims never accept their true history. Maybe someone can explain why so many Western worthies constantly kept covering up the truth about Islamic history.
(by the way a similar thing was done to cover up trukish history since the west needed them as allies against the Soviets) In future please provide links to back up what you say.

ik said...

typo in previous post

"(since the Sikhs supported the British as they had no intention of seeing another British empire)"

(since the Sikhs supported the British as they had no intention of seeing another MOGHUL empire)

Adaneshju said...


I appreciate your post, however I have issues with your history.

I find it somewhat interesting that you first speak of a Hindu fightback against Islam, and in your second point go to great length to discuss how Islam was spread peacefully by Arab traders.

Mr Abdul Kalam is absolutely an interesting guy--worked on nukes, is a Muslim, is a Tamil, and reads the ghitas. I don't see him as that atypical, maybe you do, I don't know.

As for the Assam connection--sure, that area is a nightmare for armies. The tribal areas are still rough today there are actually large numbers of Christians in Indias east today (thanks to missionary work in the past two centuries). I might add that there are also plenty of Muslims in the region. I'm less sure of this, but historically have many of the tribal regions even been considered Hindu? I thoguht shamanism etc were big in the east.

You're also ABSOLUTELY correct about Southeast Asia and many of the Pacific islands having a Hindu heritage. One can absolutely see this in ruins, and in a few places such as Bali, communities still around today. However, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, ALL are primarily Buddhist. I know Burma and Thailand have a decent number of Muslims, don't know offhand about Laos and Cambodia, but as far as I know, each of these countries has more Muslims than Hindus, and way more Buddhists than anything else. Malayasia is what, 50-55% Muslim, with the majority of the rest being Buddhism? Buddhism's been in the region for awhile as well (it originated in South Asia too, so you can see South Asian culture flowing that way as well).

The Brits had to fight the Maratha, though the Maratha like many of the other polities in India were severely weakened by the 19th century when the Brits stepped up their efforts. When did the Maratha confederation fall, it was early no? 1810 or so (not sure of the date here)? The British policy especially in India was always one of dealing with local rulers. Thus even until 1947 one can speak of the "independence" of such rulers of Hyderabad, Kashmir, Goa, and elsewhere. The mutiny was the ultimate end of the Mughal line of emperors which had been severely weakened for years, though which in turn had controlled a great deal of the subcontinent in times past. I've seen a map showing how much of the subcontinent was under Muslim control on the eve of the arrival of the British. I shall attempt to find it, and if I'm able, scan it for you if you would like.

Regardless, I still am unsure of what is meant by "hindu fightback"

ik, you also requested links to back up what I say--what in particular would you like me to back up from my other post? As a matter of fact, I only asked questions to you.

ik said...


Sorry if I came across a bit harshly - it was because you used the word 'hindutva' negatively to describe me (also I thought you were from the subcontinent)

Kalam did not work on Nukes - that is leftist propaganda - he was a missile engineer (engineer not scientist, missiles not nukes) - the reason for the propaganda is that he is the type of Muslim we like and by putting him up as a candidate the Hindu nationalists were taking away the Muslim 'card' from the leftists - hence they went around badmouthing him. (western equivalent would be democrats badmouthing Powell/Condi just to prevent the race card being taken away from them)

The thai muslims are in the south on the border with Malaysia.
Amost all the Muslims in the Northeast are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

You asked "how the Hindu fightback protected Asia when one can find Islam west, north, and east of India (not to mention China), and from Kashmir to Kerala."

Hence I pointed out that the parts where Islam was spread by ultra violent conquest are more extremist (by Islamic standards) as compared to the parts where Islam was spread by traders/missionaries. (so when it was just spread locally by traders and they did not behave badly there was no organized resistance)
The problem is that no matter how it is spread since the "seed" is violent it can be brought to life at sime time in future - also since you said Kerala - Tamils are also right there hence I mentioned Kalam. You get me wrong Hindus have never been fanatics - most are highly "parochial" in their thinking -hence the fightback was by locals to protect "local" traditions - it was never a "organized" religion like in Europe (no pope-no vatican-pretty much anyone can call himself a Guru - problem would be getting followers and keeping them) - hence there was never an organized "global" fight based on an organized identity. "People of Assam fought to preserve the Assamese way of life" etc. - also a big part of the problem is that there is no word for religion in any Indian language (there is Dharma - but that means more like "way of" - like Baudh Dharma - way of the Buddha, Raj Dharma - right way to rule for a Raja (king))

Also Buddhist philosophy is from India (lots of similarities to Hinduism -reincarnation,karma etc.Tibetian Buddhism built on a foundation of Tantra Hindu philosophy) - it was spread from India all over the place - their weak point was that they were concentrated in monasteries/universities so when the Muslims came they got wiped out from India. Hindus were decentralized hence somehow survived like internet;)

Tribals were always considered as Hindus (mentioned in our epics/scriptures/several tribal traditions/gods are part of Hinduism) - missionaries came and claimed that they were not Hindus hence they should be allowed to convert them.

The reason for the map confusion is that after the British arrived (came as traders) they just sat around on the sidelines for a couple of 100 years "watching the fun" - when they finally moved in the Marathas and the Sikhs had already destroyed the Muslim empires. the Marathas were ruling 2/3rd of the subcontinent (Ind/Pak/Bangla) when the British moved in. Also Burma was part of British India till 1935 AFAIK (till the British carved it out) - got to go -discuss more some other time