Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why Are Muslims So Backward and Powerless?

Dr. Farrukh Saleem
Dr. Farrukh Saleem is a Pakistani journalist, freelance columnist, and political analyst. Originally a financial professional by occupation, he managed an eight figure equities portfolio invested in the New York Stock Exchange between the years 1988 and 1994. Saleem has been a columist for The News International, Pakistan's largest English-language daily, for over 5 years. Prior to that, he wrote weekly columns for the Dawn newspaper in 1996. Throughout 1996, he also worked as a correspondent on issues related to Pakistan, India, and Iran for the Vancouver Sun, a Canadian newspaper. Farrukh Saleem has additionally been a guest columnist for the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review. He has served as the CEO of Dominion Stock Funds Limited, a KSE-listed company, and currently lives in Islamabad. He is the Pakistani Executive Director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank established in 2007. This article originally appeared in 2009.
     We Muslims must wonder why is it that only Muslim States like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are being attacked by the Christian West. Why do we get pushed around by them with the former President of the US George Bush calling it a crusade? Why is it that Muslim States often depend on the West for survival, even Saudi Arabia, the epicentre for Islamic fundamentalism (i.e. Wahabism) is dependent on American largesse for their survival? While they preach Wahhabi Islam all over the world, they allow American bases within a few hundred kilometres from the Holiest Shrines of Islam. There are an estimated 1,476,233,470 Muslims on the face of the planet: one billion in Asia, 400 million in Africa, 44 million in Europe and six million in the Americas. Every fifth human being is a Muslim. For every single Hindu there are two Muslims, for every Buddhist there are two Muslims and for every Jew there are one hundred Muslims. Ever wondered why Muslims are so powerless? Here is why: There are 57 member-countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and all of them put together have around 500 universities; one university for every three million Muslims. The United States has 5,758 universities and India has 8,407. In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an 'Academic Ranking of World Universities' and intriguingly, not one university from Muslim-majority states was in the top 500. As per data collected by the UNDP, literacy in the Christian world stands at nearly 90% and 15 Christian-majority states have a literacy rate of 100%. A Muslim-majority state, as a sharp contrast, has an average literacy rate of around 40% and there is no Muslim-majority state with a literacy rate of 100%. Some 98% of the 'literates' in the Christian world had completed primary school, while less than 50% of the 'literates' in the Muslim world did the same. Around 40% of the 'literates' in the Christian world attended university while no more than 2% of the 'literates' in the Muslim world did the same. Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims. The US has 4,000 scientists per million and Japan has 5,000 per million. In the entire Arab world, the total number of full-time researchers is 35,000 and there are only 50 technicians per one million Arabs. (in the Christian world there are up to 1,000 technicians per one million). Furthermore, the Muslim world spends 0.2% of its GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends around 5% of its GDP. Conclusion: The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge! Daily newspapers per 1,000 people and number of book titles per million are two indicators of whether knowledge is being diffused in a society. In Pakistan, there are 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 Pakistanis while the same ratio in Singapore is 360. In the UK, the number of book titles per million stands at 2,000 while the same in Egypt is 20. Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to diffuse knowledge. Exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports are an important indicator of knowledge application. Pakistan's export of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at 1%. The same for Saudi Arabia is 0.3%; Kuwait, Morocco, and Algeria are all at 0.3%, while Singapore is at 58%. Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to apply knowledge. Why are Muslims powerless? Because we aren't producing knowledge, diffusing knowledge, and applying knowledge. And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies. So, why are Muslims so powerless? Answer: Lack of education.