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; and 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. In 84.5% of the mosques, the imam recommended studying violence-positive texts. 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. Fifty-eight percent 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.
…This survey serves as empirical support for anecdotal studies that have noted a connection between highly Sharia-adherent mosques and the recruitment of those among their respective worshippers who commit political violence in the name of Islam. The mosque leadership of some highly Sharia-adherent mosques with known terrorist connections have praised suicide bombers and the mosques have sold literature that advocated violence against disfavored groups.
This survey’s results help to provide insight into the role that Sharia-adherent behaviors possibly play in defining group identities, creating an us-versus-them outlook, and projecting violence against outgroups such as the West and non-Muslims, which is mirrored by the Sharia literature found in the mosques prone to violent literature. The mosques where greater indicia of Sharia-adherent behaviors were observed were more likely to contain materials that conveyed a positive attitude toward employing violent jihad against the West and non-Muslims than were mosques where more Western, assimilative behaviors were observed. These materials may be instrumental in drawing a fault line between the ingroup of devout, Sharia-adherent Muslims and the outgroup comprised of non-Muslims and those Muslims who embrace Western values.
The fact that “spiritual sanctioners” who help individuals become progressively more radicalized are known to be connected to highly Sharia-adherent mosques is another concern in addition to the presence of violence-positive texts at these mosques. The imams at Sharia-adherent mosques are far more likely to recommend that their worshippers study materials that promote violence. A recommendation from a respected religious leader that a worshipper study violence-promoting legal and normative literature may legitimatize the material’s message that it is acceptable to use violence against outgroup members. Additionally, receiving permission from a religious leader to immerse oneself in materials that promote violence against outgroup members may serve as tacit permission to employ violence against an outgroup.
Mosques where greater indicia of Sharia-adherent behaviors are observed also manifest behaviors that are at least sympathetic to violent jihad and those who commit violent jihad. Mosques where the greatest indicia of Sharia-adherent behaviors were observed were the mosques most likely to contain materials holding positive views of violent jihad. In almost every instance, the imams at these mosques where violence-positive materials were available recommended that worshippers at their mosques study texts that promote violence. These same highly Sharia-adherent mosques where violence-positive materials were present—almost without exception—engaged in activities that promoted violent jihad and were several times more likely to invite guest preachers who were known to have supported violent jihad than were mosques in which violence-positive materials were not available.
—Dr. Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi, Esq., “Sharia Adherence Mosque Survey: Correlations between Sharia Adherence and Violent Dogma in U.S. Mosques” in Perspectives On Terrorism 5 (2011) HT: Center For Security Policy