Byline: Daniel Allott, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Following Pope Benedict'sremarks on the relationship between faith and violence, a quiet conversation emerged. It highlighted a central question as the West increasingly attempts to engage the Muslim world: Is Islam especially prone to violence? So far, much of the conversation has focused on the violent reactions of some Muslims to the pope's previous comments. But, there's disturbing proof that a far deeper culture of violence pervades much of the Islamic world.
In a recent survey on global conflict, Monty Marshall and Ted Burr of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management found that of the 24 major armed conflicts taking place worldwide in 2005, more than half (13) involved Muslim governments or paramilitary groups on one or both sides of the fighting. What's more, among six countries with "emerging armed conflicts," four are predominantly Muslim and another, Thailand, involves a Muslim separatist movement.
Messrs. Marshall and Burr also rated 161 countries according to their capacity to avoid outbreaks of armed conflicts. Whereas 63 percent of non-Muslim countries were categorized as "enjoy[ing] the strongest prospects for successful management of new challenges," just 18 percent of the 50 Muslim nations included were similarly designated. In addition, Muslim nations (those with at least 40 percent Muslim population) were two-and-a-half times more likely than non-Muslim nations to be considered "at the greatest risk of neglecting or mismanaging emerging societal crises such that these conflicts escalate to serious violence and/or government instability."
This evaluation reveals the glaring reality that violence is a fact of life in many Muslim nations. But is Islam itself the impetus? Consider that a recent Pentagon intelligence analysis found that most Muslim terrorists say they are motivated by the Koran's violent commands. The September 11 hijackers and London transit bombers made martyrdom videos in which they recited the Koran while talking of "sacrificing life for Allah." British authorities also recovered martyrdom videotapes in the foiled transatlantic sky terror plot. Shamil Basayev, architect of the 2004 Beslan school massacre in Chechnya, referred to himself as "Allah's slave." Meanwhile, Genocidal Sudanese dictator Gen. Omar Bashir recently swore "three times in the name of Allah" that he would never allow international troops to enter Darfur. And the list goes on.
While Western liberals often insist that foreign occupation is at the root of Islamic violence, they conveniently ignore the fact that when the U.S.S. Cole was attacked, and the World Trade Center was on two separate bloody occasions, no such occupation was taking place. …