Do Muslim immigrants and Muslim refugees pose a threat to U.S. national security? This question is one of 31 questions that drives the forthcoming book Muslims in America: Examining the Facts.
In short, the answer to this question is a resounding “no.”
The facts surrounding national security and violence on U.S. soil reveal that U.S. Muslims are far less likely to commit acts of terrorism than other populations in the United States.
Here are some facts to consider:
Between 1975 and 2015, the annual chance of being murdered by somebody other than a foreign-born terrorist was 252.9 times greater than the chance of dying in a terrorist attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist. See Alex Nowrasteh’s article “Little National Security Benefit to Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration.”
Over the last 40 years, approximately 20 out of 3.25 million refugees welcomed into the United States have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil, and only 3 Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees – all by Cuban refugees in the 1970s. See Uri Friedman’s article “Where America’s Terrorists Actually Come From.”
In his article “Are Refugees a Threat to Americans?“, Kenneth E. Miller provides a sample of things more likely to kill Americans than Muslim immigrants and Muslim refugees: 1) Second-hand smoke (41,000 deaths annually); 2) Alcohol-related car crashes (10,000 deaths annually); 3) Gunshot (33,000 deaths annually); 4) Husband/male partners (1,600 deaths annually); 5) Medical errors (250,000 deaths annually); 6) Overdose or other unintentional poisoning (22,000 deaths annually); 7) Child abuse or neglect (1,600 deaths annually); and 8) Bicycle accidents (over 800 deaths annually).
Miller also points out that toddlers living in the United States pose a more serious threat of deadly violence than Muslim refugees. At least twenty-three people have been shot by toddlers on U.S. soil since the start of 2016 – exactly 23 more than have been shot by Muslim refugees over the same period.
A report by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute questioned Donald Trump’s repeated claim that “radical Islamic terrorism” is the most significant threat to the U.S. homeland. The Investigative Fund database shows that between 2008 and 2016, far-right wing plots and attacks outnumber “jihadist” incidents by almost two to one. The database also reveals a serious imbalance in the way that the U.S. government confronts terrorism institutionally. See the article “Homegrown Terror: Explore 9 Years of Domestic Terrorism Plots and Attacks.”
The Global Terrorism Database (2017) maintained by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, College Park, notes 65 attacks in the United States associated with “far-right wing ideologies” and only 24 by “radical Muslims” since 9/11. See the article “Law Enforcement Assessment of the Violent Extremism Threat.”
Muslims in America: Examining the Facts will be published on July 31st, 2018 by ABC-CLIO. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.