A new risk analysis shows how the danger of terrorist attacks compares to other causes of American deaths.
Terrorism is a destabilizing scourge on the world. It disrupts societies and steals lives. It is also something less likely to kill an American than much more ordinary dangers.
According to risk analysis research from 2016 by the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, since 9/11, an average of 9 people per year were killed by Muslim extremists in the U.S. By comparison - 37,000 people die ever year from traffic accidents and 12,843 are killed by guns. Any person killed is terrible but if you are talking statistics, it’s easy to conclude that the American fear of terrorist attacks does not match the possible danger.
What about being killed in an attack involving immigrants? The probability of that is very negligible - 1 in 3.6 million. The chances of being killed by a refugee are 1000 times more negligible at 1 in 3.64 billion. That's 0.000000028%. It’s just not likely to happen.
How many total refugee terrorists have their been? According to the report, out of 3,252,493 refugees that came to the U.S. from 1975 till 2015, there were 20 terrorists. Is that a large number? It’s about 0.00062% of the total number. 3 of these confirmed terrorists carried out attacks that killed a total of 3 people.
What about unauthorized immigrants killing Americans? Out of 26.5 million “illegals” in the U.S. during the same time period, 10 turned out to be terrorists, killing 1 American in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The chances of being killed by an illegal immigrant are at 1 in the “astronomical” 10.9 billion.
Of course, all of these statistics can change with one major terrorist incident on the magnitude of 9/11. But the current numbers do not support the alarmist justification offered by the Trump administration for the executive order temporarily barring entry into the U.S. for citizens of 7 Muslim-majority countries. The measure has so far drawn much protest, confusion and division.
Without sacrificing vigilance, the resources of the federal government would be better channeled towards the real dangers to the lives of Americans - consider that over 20,000 people kill themselves every year by firearms, heart disease (the leading cause of death) takes 614,348 lives, while cancer takes 591,699. It’s hard not to question the priorities of the White House, with the first executive orders both attacking people’s health care and overreacting on the dangers posed by citizens of countries who did not kill a single American on U.S. soil.
Cover photo: People walk in the street in the area where the World Trade Center buildings collapsed September 11, 2001 after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers in a suspected terrorist attack. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Millions of Muslims marched to Karbala, Iraq even after suicide bombing and continued threats by ISIL. The Arbaeen pilgrimage continues to be a show of religious freedom.
While many in America were gathering around the table with family to give thanks this November, many in Iraq were making the pilgrimage to Karbala to mark Arbaeen. Under threat of ISIL attacks, millions of Shia Muslims continue to make the peaceful journey to mark the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed, in 680 AD during a battle.
This event is considered to be a defining moment, which formed the schism between Sunni and Shia Muslims. ISIL considers Shia Muslims apostates. They have claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing which killed six people near Karbala at the start of the festival on Monday, November 14. But this act did not deter the masses making their way to Karbala.
The people who marched to mourn the death of Imam Hussein continued to do so peacefully, standing against ISIL in this powerful gesture made by millions of Muslims.
Year over year, the gathering in Karbala during Arbaeen continues to grow. In 2014 estimates range from 20 to 22 million and in 2015 the transit department says the number of people at the event could have been as high as 26 million. This event is not to be confused with the Muslim Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.
“In fact, Arbaeen should be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in several categories: biggest annual gathering, longest continuous dining table, largest number of people fed for free, largest group of volunteers serving a single event, all under the imminent threat of suicide bombings,” Faith leader and lecturer Sayed Mahdi al-Modarresi wrote for The Huffington Post back in 2014.
“I think the reason the mainstream media hasn’t covered the [march] is because I don’t think it's juicy enough to sell papers,” Mohammed Al-Sharifi, a volunteer at last year’s event, told the Independent in 2015. “It's simply not interesting enough."
"Unfortunately [some] media outlets have gone for stories that to some extent can be divisive. If a group of Muslims do something good, it's not mentioned or the religion is not mentioned. But if someone does something [negative], it is on the front page and their religion is mentioned."
Given the level of anti-muslim rhetoric during the presidential campaign, we might have expected it to be a larger part of the news cycle. Arbaeen has such a deep and profound political dimensions. Under Saddam Hussein’s reign for 30 years, this festival was forbidden in Iraq. After the 2003 invasion, the march held new meaning. It served as a way to mourn the Imam and celebrate the Shias' new religious freedom. Even before the war, many would make the pilgrimage in secret.
This month ISIL tried to stamp out the celebration, threatening this show of religious freedom. But millions of Shia Muslims defied this terrorist organization and walked in peace towards Karbala in a show of defiance and commitment to their faith.