Does religion make Muslims more violent?

Published: January 31, 2015
Muslim countries have an average of 2.4 murders per annum per 100,000 people: statistics . PHOTO: AFP

Muslim countries have an average of 2.4 murders per annum per 100,000 people: statistics . PHOTO: AFP

Any discussion on terrorism, almost always circles back to the widespread belief that Muslims are more violent because of their religion, Vox reported.

Although these conversations may always circle back to the bigoted question of whether religion makes Muslims more violent, they lack data and evidence to attribute violent behavior to Muslims.

According to UC-Berkeley Professor M Steven Fish, people in Muslim majority countries actually tend to be significantly less violent, judging by murder rates.

Statistics show that Muslim countries have an average of 2.4 murders per annum per 100,000 people in stark contrast to 7.5 murders in non-Muslim countries.

The percentage of Muslims is an extraordinarily good predictor of a country’s murder rate, the professor found.

To provide some concrete evidence, Fish used his findings and re-run the numbers to exclude non-Muslim majority states -such as Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, South Africa and Venezuela-with extraordinarily high murder rates. Those countries with many Muslim inhabitants were still less prone to murders by a large margin.

If Islam was the key factor in the cause of religiously motivated terrorism then it could be expected that ordinary Muslims too would be more violent than ordinary non-Muslims. However, there are over a billion believing Muslims globally and if Islam was intrinsically prone to violence then the data would suggest that. The data however, is quite contrary.

Despite this study, it goes without saying that religiously motivated terrorism is indeed a real phenomenon and a global problem.  Fish argued that such terrorism could be a reaction to the Western foreign policy.

The data provided by Fish should be an important reminde,r that just like other religions, Islam too prohibits violence. Although it is dependent on who is interpreting Islam, it can be said that Islam is not intrinsically violent.


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Reader Comments (3)

  • BlackJack
    Jan 31, 2015 - 12:27PM

    Strange hypothesis – is anyone arguing that the only violence in the world is religion based?People who are dying in Colombia, Venezuala, Congo etc are not being killed in the name of faith. The question is how much violence across the world is conducted in the name of religion (x%), and which religion’s followers are represented disproportionately in this data (y% of x%). Further, since almost none of the countries with Muslim majority are functional democracies with transparent oversight.


  • A Peshawary
    Jan 31, 2015 - 1:46PM

    The Holocaust anniversary celebrations emphatically covered by the western media were religious killings not related to Islam at all. The studies should be based on the facts and not to be concocted to discredit one religion only. Primarily; the Westerns are the most violent people; killing the human beings all around the world for sake of becoming world leaders. The Britishers Cherished being called “the rulers of world” till the time American took them by claiming “the best or No 1” and in the process killed millions of people. The French revolution, American Civil War, World War one and Two were not due to Islam or Muslims. The Muslim have never been violent rather Islam forbids killings. The recent persecution of Muslim around the globe is turning them violent, whether it is Palestine, Kashmir and now Africa are the killing grounds of Cristian dominated West and its allies.

    A Peshawary.


  • Chachoo
    Jan 31, 2015 - 2:41PM

    Every Religion in Overdose becomes dangerous. In the Past whenever Muslims were given the chance then they launched holy wars and Christians did the same. In Hinduism the second most respected caste is Khastris who are the warrior class.
    In the contemporary times Look at Burmese Bhuddhists who are in majority and in their country Burmese Muslims dont have the right to nationality and vote. Recently they passed a bill where a Rohingya cannot marry a Burmese Buddhist. Similarly in Pakistan Sunni Muslims are in a majority and Non Muslims have the separate electorate here and that is the case of sheer discrimination. India was pretty secular in the past but now they are mixing Hinduism with the government and i am afraid the next generation of Religious Bigots will originate from India.
    The only Solution for the Progress is Separation of the Religion and the State. Study European Age of Renaissance and even the American Constitution. Before that when Church was in control then Europeans were burning libraries as well. Unless people will keep on mixing Religion with Politics and in everyday life the outcome will always remain disastrous.


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