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The meaning of "views"

Reader comment on item: [Pew Poll on] How Muslims Think

Submitted by Josh G. (Israel), Jun 29, 2006 at 16:16

Prof. Pipes:

You wrote: "In other words, in every one of these 10 Muslim communities, a majority views September 11 as a hoax perpetrated by the American government, Israel, or some other agency."

Let's stop for a second. Surveys, especially among members of a culture who believes in prevarication as a legitimate means to any end, cannot report someone's views. All they can do is report how (s)he answers the questions.

With respect to this question, it is quite possible that in the more open and enlightened countries (UK, France) a majority Muslims do believe that September 11 was perpetrated by their co-religionists. However, their training as loyal Muslims would still, most likely, dictate that they answer this question in a way so as not to implicate or insult Islam.

In brief: Just because someone says something does not mean that (s)he actually believes it. All the more so when the respondent is a Muslim, and an occasion to serve Allah presents itself.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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