Islam is the world’s second largest religion. A 2012 Pew Research Center study estimates Islam has 1.6 billion adherents, making up over 23% of the world population. Conversely, there are less than 2.4 million suspected Muslim terrorists in the World. Less than one third of these militants have declared Jihad on the West.
The Hezbollah Party in Lebanon is generally agreed by Western intelligence agencies to have the largest terrorist capabilities in the World. Surprisingly, there are no membership estimates. However, based on the common knowledge that Hezbollah is a Shi’ite organization, and the estimates that the Shi’ites represent approximately 27% of the Lebanese population, if every Shia in Lebanon was a member of Hezbollah, at most, the party would have an estimated 1,588,292 members. Nevertheless, Hezbollah activities are known to be limited to the Palestinian struggle with Israel and unlike the extremist groups seeking to impose Sharia Law, Hezbollah does not promote an Anti-Western, Anti-Christian Agenda.
The rest of the known Muslim terrorist organizations in the Middle East which advocate strict Sharia government, total less than 764,500 members. The Muslim Brotherhood (which surprisingly the U.S. does not designate as a terrorist organization) claims 500,000 adherents; Jaish al-Islam (Syria) ranges anywhere between 5,000-50,000 members; the Tehrik-i-Taliban (Pakistan) has less than 35,000 members; The Taliban (Afghanistan) has an estimated 25,000-36,000 fighters; ISIS (Syria) can ‘muster’ between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters; Ahrar al-Sham has an estimated 10,000-20,000 members; Boko Haram (Yobe State) has an estimated 10,000-15,000 members; The Haqquani Network (Afghanistan) has an estimated 10,000 members; Lashkar-e-Zill (Afghanistan) has an estimated 10,000 members; Liwa al-Tawhid (Syria) has an estimated 8,000-10,000 members; Suqour al-Sham (Syria) has an estimated 9,000-10,000 members; the military wing of Hamas (Palestine) has an estimated 10,000 operatives; Jabhat al-Nusra (Syria) has an estimated 5,000-7,000 operatives; Al Shabab (Somalia) has an estimated 3,000-5,000 members; Lashkar-e-Taiba is estimated to have “several thousand” members; Ansar al-Sham (Syria) has approximately 2,500 fighters; the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (Bangladesh), at it’s peak, had approximately 2,000 members; Hizbul-Mujahideen (Kashmir) has an estimated 1500 operatives; Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Pakistan) has less than 1000 members; Jemaah Islamiyah (Indonesia) has less than 1000 members; Al-Qaeda has an estimated 500-1000 operatives; Ansar al-Islam (Iraq) has 500-1000 members; Harkat-ul-Jihadi al-Islami (Pakistan has 500-700 members; Abu Sayyaf (Philippines) has 200-500 members; Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen (Pakistan) has an estimated 300 members; Jaish-e-Muhammad (Pakistan) has “several hundred” armed volunteers; and Al-Badr (Kashmir) has an estimated 200 operatives.
These numbers reflect that less than .0015% of Muslims would qualify as members of suspected terrorist organizations. Less than .0005% would be of the Anti-Western Jihadist persuasion. Put another way, 99.9995% of Muslims are not Anti-Western militant extremists.
The United States has a population of approximately 320 million people. Approximately 6/10 of one percent of the population is Muslim, for a total of two million Muslims in the U.S. If the numbers above hold up, out of 2 million Muslims, there would potentially be as many as 1000 militant Muslims in the U.S., with as few as 40 of them being a member of ISIS. This means 1 out of every 1999 Muslims you meet in America might harbor anti-Western extremist views. More importantly, this means 1998 out of 1999 do not. If we limit the conversation to members of ISIS, these numbers would skyrocket. Statistically speaking, the odds of a U.S. Muslim being a member of ISIS would increase to 1 in 50,000.
To place these numbers in the proper perspective, if the average American met one new Muslim per day, on the average, you would only meet one militant Muslim every 5 1/2 years. You would average one member of ISIS every 138 years.
So as we are bombarded with all the rhetoric and sensationalist claims designed to persuade us that these 40 statistical anomalies are the biggest threat the U.S. has ever faced, let us please remember that it is the terrorists who are the threat and not the Muslims.
By Lawrence Christopher Skufca (2015)