In responding to a caller's claim, Newsradio 850 KOA host "Gunny" Bob Newman distorted one result of a poll of Muslim Americans to assert that "26 percent" of those surveyed "agreed that at some times, suicide bombing is acceptable." In fact, the Pew Research Center poll lists the number as 13 percent. Further, Newman misrepresented his history of making anti-Muslim comments.
On the June 4 broadcast of his Newsradio 850 KOA program, "Gunny" Bob Newman mischaracterized the findings of a recently released Pew Research Center opinion poll on attitudes among Muslim Americans. In response to a caller's claim that the survey revealed "something like 25 percent of Islamic Americans would be willing to strap bombs [to themselves]," Newman asserted, "Yeah ... 26 percent agreed that at some times, suicide bombing is acceptable." In fact, while the Pew poll indicated that 26 percent of U.S. Muslims aged 18-29 thought that suicide bombing of civilian targets was "[e]ver justified," the total number of U.S. Muslims who thought that way was 13 percent.
Later in the broadcast, Newman also misrepresented his history of anti-Muslim remarks. After calling the result of the poll that he and the caller had distorted "a shocking figure ... a mind-blower," Newman claimed that "for nearly six years on this program I have been saying that we are not at war with Islam, we are at war with a faction of Islam that has been hijacked by ... fanatics." He also claimed to "disagree with ... people who say, oh, well, yeah -- we have a problem with the fundamentalists." But contradicting that comment are remarks Newman made on his May 8 broadcast, when he demanded that "every Muslim immigrant to America ... be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times" and suggested that the federal government "bug [Muslims'] places of work and their residences" and monitor "[a]ll mosques and community centers." Newman also called for a moratorium on Muslim immigration to the United States, adding, "If they don't like the idea, or if they refuse, throw their asses out of this country."
Contrary to Newman's assertion about Muslim-American attitudes on suicide bombings, Pew reported in its survey summary that "[o]verall, 8% of Muslim Americans say suicide bombings against civilian targets tactics are often (1%) or sometimes (7%) justified in the defense of Islam." As Pew further noted:
The overwhelming majority of Muslims in the U.S. (78%) say that the use of suicide bombing against civilian targets to defend Islam from its enemies is never justified. In this regard, American Muslims are more opposed to suicide bombing than are Muslims in nine of the 10 other countries surveyed in 2006.
The survey did acknowledge that American Muslims ages 18 to 29 "are more willing to accept suicide bombing in the defense of Islam than are their older counterparts." According to Pew, "Among Muslims younger than 30, for example, 15% say that suicide bombing can often or sometimes be justified"; an additional 11% of this demographic responded that suicide bombings are "rarely justified," according to the poll. But Newman omitted the finding that among "[a]ll U.S. Muslims," only 13 percent agreed that suicide bombing of civilian targets was "[e]ver justified," according to the poll.
Pew offered that number in two separate tables, (here and here). The poll asked respondents, "Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies. Other people believe that, no matter what the reason, this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?"
From the June 4 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show:
CALLER: Hey, you know, the thing that concerns me about all of this general is kind of the timing associated with that poll that recently indicated that, what, something like 25 percent of Islamic Americans would be willing to strap bombs --
NEWMAN: Yeah, it was 20, it was 26 percent would be will -- would -- would not be willing to do it themselves; 26 percent agreed that at some times, suicide bombing is acceptable. That's what they said.
CALLER: Well, that's just mind-boggling. I can't imagine any other group in this country who lives here and considers themselves Americans saying that. It's just, it's just inconceivable. It's like having this dangerous fifth column in your midst. And I, I'm sure there are plenty of good, patriotic Islamic Americans that live in this country, but that statistic, if that poll is even remotely valid, is just mind-boggling.
NEWMAN: Yeah, it, it is mind-boggling, but -- and here's the thing though, OK; 20, 26 percent -- that, that's a shocking figure. That, that's a mind-blower right there. But unfortunately, what some people do then is they say, well, you know, what that means is we are at war with Islam, and we are not. I've been saying this for nearly six years on this program. And I'm not saying you're saying it, [caller], because you didn't. I want to be clear about that. But for nearly six years on this program I have been saying that we are not at war with Islam, we are at war with a faction of Islam that has been hijacked by, by fanatics. And I also disagree with the so-called fund -- people who say, oh, well, yeah -- we have a problem with the fundamentalists. Listen, if you, if you really un, understand peaceful Muslims, they will tell you to their face, these terrorists are not fundamentalists. Because fundamental Islam, as I've been saying for nearly six years, is not about car bombs and flying planes into, into twin towers. But that, but at the same time, we must not take away from that 26 percent, because it is a shocking and very disappointing figure.