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By the Numbers: How Demographics Reveal the True Nature of Islam

12-20-2015
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With each new terrorist attack, the debate over the true nature of Islam intensifies.

"Let's be clear though: Islam is not our adversary," Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton insisted in a speech in late November.

But Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio frames the debate differently, citing the threat of radical Islam as an epic struggle of our times.

"This is a civilizational struggle," Rubio said in a campaign ad warning about the dangers of the Islamic terror group ISIS.

He said the world is in a battle "between the values of freedom and liberty and radical Islamic terror."

Those on the left defend Islam, calling it a religion of peace.

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"Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism," Clinton and many others have repeatedly said.

Those on the right want to stop the flow of Muslims to the United States over concerns about jihadists sneaking in among masses of refugees.

"What happened in Paris could happen here," Rubio warned. "There is no middle ground."

But experts like Raheel Raza, a Muslim human rights advocate, says there's also a much bigger debate.

"When there is a disease or a virus, it can't be treated unless you identify the problem. So we have to call it what it is and it is violent radical extremist Islamism," Raza said.

Spheres of Radicalization

For over 20 years, Raza, a Sunni Muslim, has dedicated her life to speaking out against what she calls the rising threat of radical Islam.

"This is not an easy topic to discuss," Raza admitted.

In her latest project, "By the Numbers: The Untold Story of Muslim Opinions and Demographics," Raza warns that Islam presents a great threat. Watch the documentary below.

"In light of the fact that most of the terrorism in the world today involves Muslims in one way or another, and because it directly affects our lives and security, I think that we need to be be able to have an open, honest and fact-based conversation of that."

Produced by The Clarion Project, Raza describes in the documentary so-called "spheres of radicalization."

At the core is what she calls "violent jihadists" like ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Boko Haram.

"These are the jihadists who murder people in San Bernardino, Texas, Paris, London, Delhi, Jerusalem, Ottawa, Nairobi," Raza said.

Sphere 2: Jihadist Supporters

A second sphere Raza says are those who support jihadists' goals, but not their methods. For example, while they push for an Islamic takeover, they do so through democratic methods.

"Islamists want many of the same things as the jihadists it's just that their tactics differ," she said.

She points to the large percentage of Egyptians who supported the Muslim Brotherhood or the Palestinians who voted to give political power to the terrorist group Hamas.

"So instead of engaging in terror themselves, they use the political and cultural system to further their aims," she explained.

Sphere 3: Islamic Fundamentalists

The third sphere, and the largest of them all, is what Raza also calls the most disturbing… the fundamentalists.

"The Muslims in this circle are certainly not like ISIS and they are not working to overthrow governments like the Muslim Brotherhood. but they do hold beliefs and practices that no doubt would seem radical to you and me," Raza said.

She points to an exhaustive Pew Research project in 2013 that interviewed thousands of Muslims across 39 countries.

In the survey, large numbers of Muslims, representing millions of people, thought it was justifiable to execute people who converted away from Islam and to murder women who dishonor the family.

"These studies paint a picture of an Islamic world that is increasingly out of step with the modern world," she said.

In the same survey, alarming numbers of young Muslims in Western countries also supported suicide bombings.

"Forty-two percent of French Muslims, 35 percent of British Muslims, and 26 percent of American Muslims believe suicide bombings against non-Muslims can be justified," Raza said.

Equally shocking, Raza adds, is the large percentage of Muslims who want Sharia law, which calls for stoning of adulterers and chopping off the hands of thieves, to be the law of the land.

"Of course not every Muslim believes in these things, but hundreds of millions do. The numbers are right here for all to see," she said.

Starting an Honest Conversation

Raza says if radical Islam is ever to be defeated, "an honest conversation" must happen "about one of the most important issues of our time."

"By silencing the debate about radical Islamist beliefs we abandon our own core beliefs of truth, free speech, and tolerance and we abandon human rights in favor of political correctness," she said.

Raza said she hopes the documentary will help start that conversation.

Watch the documentary "By the Numbers: The Untold Story of Muslim Opinions and Demographics" below.

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