A widely cited study by a progressive foundation that purports Americans have more to fear from so-called “right-wing extremists” than from Islamic terrorists is based on a deeply flawed analysis, according to the findings of a Florida scholar.
The New America Foundation study, released in 2015, claims 48 deaths in the U.S. over the past 14 years were the result of “right wing attacks” while only 45 deaths were perpetrated by “violent jihadist attacks.”
Professor Andrew Holt of Florida State College in Jacksonville debunked the study for its flawed methodology, which included the selective use of data. For example, the study ignored a half-dozen Islamic terror attacks, including the mega attack that killed 3,000 on Sept. 11, 2001, and the murders of 10 people in 2002 by D.C. Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo.
“If you include the death totals from 9/11 in such a calculation, then there have been around 62 people killed in the United States by Islamic extremists for every one American killed by a right wing terrorist,” Holt stated in his analysis.
Holt, a Ph.D., is a professor of history, religion and foreign affairs.
Despite its questionable scholarship, the study by the New America Foundation has been gleefully cited by numerous media outlets including the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Hill and the Washington Post, among others. It has even been used by professors in some college classrooms as examples of “Islamophobia” in America.
Even if the attack of Sept. 11, 2001, were eliminated from the equation, that would still leave Islamic terror responsible for 50 percent of all terror attacks on U.S. soil during the 14-year period. But the study’s authors fail to ask the question: How does a group, Islam, which accounts for only 1 percent of the U.S. population, commit half of the nation’s deadly terror attacks?
The study also does not take into account the many extraordinary measures put in place by the government since 2001 to combat terror. The FBI has since then foiled at least 40 major Islamic-inspired attacks.
Not only media but the federal government itself has used the flawed New America study to justify stepped-up action against non-Islamic Americans.
The New America study also cited by Assistant Attorney General John Carlin in October as justification for the creation of a new federal position within the Justice Department called the “domestic terrorism counsel.”
Robert Spencer, author of several books on Islam who blogs at JihadWatch.org, said he doesn’t expect the professor’s debunking of the study to get much attention in the mainstream media because it destroys a narrative in which they are heavily invested. He writes:
“Contrary to media myth, you’re actually 62 times more likely to be killed by an Islamic jihadist than by a ‘right-wing extremist.’ Professor Andrew Holt shows that not only did the New America Foundation wildly exaggerate the threat of ‘right-wing extremists,’ and fudge the data to do so, it also ignored several murderous Islamic jihad attacks. The New America Foundation study was written up in the New York Times and elsewhere — the mainstream media loved it and continues to cite it to this day. This debunking will not get that kind of attention.”