As reported in The Guardian, the Australian TV host Sonia Kruger has recently kicked up a storm by claiming that

There is a correlation between the number of people in a country who are Muslim and the number of terrorist attacks

Putting aside whether or not it's even relevant, is she right?

  • 5
    The moderator doesn't seem to like the answer to this question. Since this can't be answered without responses being deleted, I'm voting to close.
    – quant
    Jul 19, 2016 at 21:53
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    I'd bet this is more tautology than an actual claim. "There is a correlation between the number of Muslims in a country and [Islam related] terrorism." In today's conservative media world, terrorism is practically synonymous with "islam related terrorism".
    – user11643
    Apr 21, 2017 at 4:52
  • 2
    @fredsbend I disagree. A correlation between Islamic terrorists and [Islam related] terrorist attacks, on the other hand, would be tautological.
    – lemon
    Apr 21, 2017 at 8:06
  • 5
    During the terror campaign by the Provisional IRA in the UK people in Ireland would have asked the question: "are we talking about catholic muslims or protestant muslims?" ;-)
    – matt_black
    Apr 21, 2017 at 11:44
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    I'm a little mystified by the deletion of the answer by GIS as original research. The answer sought to visualise accessible data and not to generate original data. I'd have thought this was a good way to deal with questions like this.
    – matt_black
    Apr 21, 2017 at 11:51

1 Answer 1


A study by Fish et al (2010) concludes:

Relying on cross-national analysis, the authors find no evidence of a correlation between the proportion of a country’s population that is made up of Muslims and deaths in episodes of large-scale political violence in the postwar period.


  • Data is from 1946-2007, so is comprehensive, but over 10 years old now.
  • Only considers "large-scale acts of domestic political violence" (ie, YMMV).
  • Just one study, though the author does have a book out (2011) reviewing more research on the subject.

On the other hand, it looks at both total number of acts and people killed, predominantly Muslim countries vs proportion of Muslims in countries, attempts to control for socioeconomic factors, outliers, ambiguity in the data, and other factors. Using a variety of different models and criteria to see if any of them affect results, the conclusions are pretty much the same.

  • "Control for socioeconomic factors" are dubious. Perhaps being islamic lead to certain socio economic factors. Perhaps, for example, being islamic means the state is not secular, and that leads to more violent. If you control based on "secularism" then of course you see no data.
    – user4951
    Dec 22, 2018 at 21:35

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