Analysts say that violent death perpetrated against Muslims feed terrorism
Perception that West is targeting Islam is now a consideration in U.S. foreign policy
A common conception among radical Islam is that the West, in particular the United States, is waging a campaign of genocide and oppression against Muslims. If this sounds slanted and biased, sobering statistics support this view. At least four million Muslims have met violent ends in the past 30 years, much of it at the hands of "infidel" governments.
The notion that the West is waging genocide against Muslims is helping embattled terrorist groups like AL-Qaeda expand their reach by feeding resentment and anger against the "infidels" - be they Christian, Jew, Hindu or Communist - to inspire new attacks.
According to Ed Husain, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations: Muslims have died violently across the world, chiefly instigated by non-Muslim nations. "The ugly truth is that it is real," Husain said. "You can't go past a single month in the past 30 years without reports of Muslims being killed in some part of the world or another, and that sticks."
Millions of Muslims have been killed in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya and elsewhere since 1980. While found to be imprecise, politically charged and often unverifiable, this data arrives from human rights organizations, academic studies, the United Nations and from groups representing the victims.
However, Islamic scholars caution that the notion that the West is orchestrating "a genocide" is a gross oversimplification.
"Beginning with the Iran-Iraq War and continuing to the present day, more and more casualties are inflicted by Muslims against Muslims," P.J. Crowley, a former spokesman for ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says. "The prevailing narrative in the region remains the faithful waging war against crusaders, but that is not the reality."
It must be noted that half of the deaths in the NBC analysis are attributable to internecine conflict, a trend that has increased in recent years.
Steve Simon, who was until earlier this year head of the Middle East Desk at the National Security Council, said it became part of the debate over drone strikes and the timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. "Over time, my impression was that administration became increasingly aware of the reputational costs of the drone attacks, weighing them against their considerable tactical gains," Simon says. "There was a concern that over the course of the decade too many people were getting killed."
The growing death toll played into decisions to speed the pullout from Iraq, Simon adds. "The sanctions, which the U.S. led, took a heavy toll, then (came) the war," he said. "We also were aware that our involvement had unleashed internecine warfare that . killed many more."
Sadly, this notion is helping embattled terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda expand their reach by feeding resentment and anger against the "infidels" - be they Christian, Jew, Hindu or Communist - to inspire new attacks.
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