EconoMonitor

The Kapali Carsi

Of Muslim terrorists and terrorist Muslims

The Boston manhunt came to an end when the police arrested the second Boston Marathon bomber late Friday night. It is likely to be an isolated incident.

Here’s the intro. to my latest Hurriyet Daily News (HDN) column, where I calculate the probability of  being a terrorist given one is a Muslim. Nothing fancy, I just use Bayes’ Law, a theorem that anyone who has taken intro. stats. would know. And then I tie it to gun control law. Anyway, you can read the whole thing at the HDN website.

I don’t have much of an addendum: Just note that to calculate probability of being a terrorist given one is Muslim, I needed the probability of being a Muslim given one is a terrorist, which I assumed it to be 100%.  I don’t believe that; I even linked to an article showing that statement is not true. The point is that even under that strong assumption, the probability of being a terrorist given one is Muslim is very very small.

Other than that, I would advise you to look at the comments to my column:  As you can see, several of my readers told me they disagree with me, saying things like “terror risk is real”. Reports by RAND and Duke University & the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have argued that threat of homegrown jihadism is exaggerated, but that was not my point at all:) There is a risk of being the prone to a terrorist attack, although it is very small according to WSJ’s numbers guy. I am just saying that just because someone is speaking Arabic in your plane doesn’t mean they will crash your plane- or helicopter for that matter (2:00-4:00):). Speaking of probabilities, I stumbled upon a forum post that discusses the probability of being a terrorist when you don’t have a Facebook account- apparently the previous terrorists did not have FB accounts, but the Boston Marathon bombers did, so you may want to go through that calculation in your spare time…

Finally, here is a Financial Times piece (subscription required but you get a few free articles per month when you register) that links the bombings to gun control legislation as I have done, but from a slightly different angle…

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