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Beware of statistics!

Reader comment on item: Bolstering Moderate Muslims
in response to reader comment: The utter irrelevance of the recent protests and why they are misleading

Submitted by Farid H. (Germany), May 9, 2007 at 20:16

Oh, the deceptive logic of statistics...! You're saying that 99.3% of Muslims did NOT stand up to oppose sharia law. Do you infer that 99.3% of Muslims are therefore in favor of it? Just because they didn't take it to the streets? What about the US? What's the percentage of people protesting on the streets against the war in Iraq? 0.01%? 0.1%?

So by the very same logic, 99.9% of Americans are in favor of this war; right? But polls suggest figures VERY different from that, don't they? Or, to put it differently: the size of public protests may be an indicator (do they go up or down), but you'll almost never get more than 1% or so of the general population to take it to the streets, even if they silently agreed with the protesters.

And 1% is by all means a very generous estimate. In a stable country (Turkey?), it's more like 0.1% or even 0.01%. Only in countries which are in deep transformation (kind of revolution, Ukraine?) would you get up to 5% or so participation, but that would be the absolute exception and a very rare event.

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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