Perspectives on Terrorism recently recently released a comprehensive study on violence-advocating texts in American mosques titled Sharia Adherence Mosque Survey: Correlations between Sharia Adherence and Violent Dogma in U.S. Mosques.
The Shariah Adherence Mosque Survey found that 80% of U.S. mosques provide their worshippers with jihad-style literature promoting the use of violence against non-believers and that the imams in those mosques expressly promote that literature.
The study also found that when a mosque imam or its worshippers were “sharia-adherent,” as measured by certain behaviors in conformity with Islamic law, the mosque was more likely to provide this violent literature and the imam was more likely to promote it.
Perspectives on Terrorism is a scholarly, peer-reviewed international journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI), a global initiative that seeks to support the international community of terrorism researchers and scholars through the facilitation of collaborative projects and cooperative initiatives. TRI was established in 2007 by scholars from several disciplines in order to provide the global research community with a common tool than can empower them and extend the impact of each participant’s research activities.
The research originally was published in the summer 2011 edition of Middle East Quarterly (MEQ) under the title Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques. The Middle East Quarterly is an academic, peer-reviewed journal which specializes on Middle East regional issues. Due to the ground-breaking nature of the study, which brings a rigorous empirical methodology to the question of home-grown jihadists, MEQ granted permission to Perspectives on Terrorism to publish a more extensive analysis of the study’s conception, methodology, and results. The new publication includes additional material, charts and graphs.
The abstract for the study summarizes the research findings:
A random survey of 100 representative mosques in the U.S. was conducted to measure the correlation between Sharia adherence and dogma calling for violence against non-believers.
Of the 100 mosques surveyed,
- 51% had texts on site rated as severely advocating violence;
- 30% had texts rated as moderately advocating violence;
- 19% had no violent texts at all.
Mosques that presented as Sharia adherent were more likely to feature violence-positive texts on site than were their non-Sharia-adherent counterparts.
The leadership at Sharia-adherent mosques was more likely to recommend that a worshipper study violence-positive texts than leadership at non-Sharia-adherent mosques.
In 84.5% of the mosques, the imam recommended studying violence-positive texts.
58% of the mosques invited guest imams known to promote violent jihad.
The leadership of mosques that featured violence-positive literature was more likely to invite guest imams who were known to promote violent jihad than was the leadership of mosques that did not feature violence-positive literature on mosque premises.
The study’s authors, Professor Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University in Israel and David Yerushalmi, who serves as general counsel to the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., have both published widely on terrorism, Islamic law and its underlying doctrines of jihad and violence against unbelievers.
Dr. Kedar is an assistant professor in the department of Arabic and Middle East studies and a research associate with the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, both at Bar Ilan University, Israel. He is the author of Asad in Search of Legitimacy: Message and Rhetoric in the Syrian Press under Hafiz and Bashar (Sussex) and numerous articles.
David Yerushalmi has been practicing law for more than 27 years. He is a litigator specializing in public policy relating to national security, the intersection between sharia and terrorism in the name of Islam, and public interest law. Mr. Yerushalmi is licensed and practices in Washington D.C., New York, California, and Arizona and serves as General Counsel to the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., one of the nation’s leading national security think tanks founded by former Reagan administration official Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
The Perspectives on Terrorism study can be accessed here.
The earlier Middle East Quarterly study can be accessed here.