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:
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 answers.com, 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!
And 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.