Another day, and another tragic event. The events in Nice horrified us all. One excellent response is to reinforce that, should this turn out to be a terrorist attack, the individual does not represent all Muslims. The number of terrorist-minded Muslims is tiny. We can make that point using data.
This afternoon I saw the following chart tweeted by Ian Bremmer, which makes this point:
1.6 Billion Muslims in the world.
How many terrorists? Here's context. pic.twitter.com/nxb4KX6nbU
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) July 15, 2016
The point being made is great, but look at those circles: if you put that ISIS circle inside the Muslim circle, it’s kinda big. So I took the data from that chart, and redrew it in Tableau. Turns out, the circles were the wrong size. Here’s what the size really look like, if you draw the circles so that their AREA represents the value:
Can you see the circles for Al Qaeda, ISIS, or the Taliban? They’re up there in the top right. Tiny, aren’t they?
The lesson here is that, if you’re going to use circles, size them according to the area. The people behind the original chart, MIIM Design, were trying to make a valid point, but the circle size misrepresented the sizes, which could cause confusion.
Note: I used the same numbers MIIM used in their chart, taking the upper estimate of each category. I have not done research to check the validity of these numbers. My goal is to make a point about circle sizes, not a political point about the size of different religious or terrorist groups.
Update: I replaced the original image with one with a new title. One commenter suggested, rightly, that I might have implied “Muslim” is a terrorist organisation. That absolutely was not my intention or my belief.