Thursday, September 15, 2011

FBI chart

a lot of people have posted about the FBI's islamaphobic training materials.among those materials is this graph:

seriously? i mean, if someone handed me that chart i would think it was a joke, even if i bought the premise that islam is an inherently violent religion. the y-axis is supposedly showing the level of violence displayed by adherents of each religion. but how does they measure violence? it is a body count? the number of wars? and why are the lines so smooth and straight? no actual data looks like that. it looks like something that someone just made up. which i'm sure is exactly what it is. but jesus, couldn't they at least make up something that looked a little more convincing?

also why are the lines named after holy texts? the texts themselves have not changed much in the past 1000+ years even though the lines show the violence level changing over time. it seems that the creator really is talking about people, not books despite the labels. and do the authors know that "torah" and "bible" are not good stand-ins for judaism and christianity (the torah being part of the bible, and the fact that jews call their own holy text "the bible" even if it is just "the old testament" to christians)

then there's the overall direction of the lines. let's put aside the "koran" and "torah" lines. i would think the "bible" (i.e.christian) line would look a whole lot different than it does on the chart. rather than starting violently and then getting progressively more non-violent as time progressed as the chart shows, christianity was probably its most non-violent at its founding ("turn the other cheek" and all that). it was only in the centuries afterwards that we had schisms, religious wars and crusades, not to mention the only world wars driven primarily by predominantly christian countries.

i have a hard time believing that the chart would convince anyone over the age of 12. but maybe i'm giving the general public more credit than they deserve. still, i know it's hard to be an FBI agent. you need more education than any run-of-the-mill cop. and yet, the FBI is treating its agents like a bunch of ignorant kids.