Islamic Scholar Bernard Lewis: The Crisis Of Islam

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    Bernard Lewis, "The Crisis of Islam"

    Almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty and tyranny. The combinatoin of low productivity and high birth rate in the Middle East makes for an untenable mix, with a large and rapidly growing population of unemployed, uneducated and frustrated young men. By all indicators from the United Nations, the World Bank and other authorities, the Arab countries--in matters such as job creation, education, technology and productivity--lag further behind the West. Even worse, the Arab nations also lag behind the more recent recruits to Western-style democracy, such as Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

    The comparative figures on the performance of Muslim countries, as reflected in these statistics, are devastating.

    In the listing of economies by gross domestic product, the highest ranking Muslim majority country is Turkey, with 64 million inhabitants, in 23rd place, between Austria and Denmark, with about 5 million each. The next is Indonesia, with 212 million, in 28th place, following Norway with 4.5 million and followed by Saudi Arabia with 21 million. In comparative purchasing power, the first Muslim state is Indonesia in 15th place followed by Turkey in 19th place. In living standards as reflected by gross domestic product per head, the first Muslim state is Qatar, in 23rd place, followed by the United Arab Emirates in 23rd place and Kuwait in 28th.

    In a listing of industrial output, the highest-ranking Muslim country is Saudi Arabia, number 21, followed by Indonesia, tied with Austria and Belgium in 22nd place and Turkey, tied with Norway in 27th place.

    In a listing by manufacturing output, the highest ranking Arab country is Egypt, in 35th place, tying with Norway.

    In a listing of life expectancy, the first Arab state is Kuwait, in 32nd place. In ownership of telephone lines per hundred people, the first Muslim country listed is the UAE in 33rd place. In ownership of computers per hundred people, the first Muslim state listed is Bahrain in 30th place.

    Book sales present an even more dismal picture. A listing of 27 countries, beginning with the United States and ending with Viet Nam, does not include a single Muslim state. In a human development index, Brunei is number 32, Kuwait 36, Bahrain 40, Qatar 41, the UAE 44, Libya 66 and Saudi Arabia 68.

    According to a report on Arab Human Development prepared by a committee of Arab intellectualss, reveals, "the Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one-fifth of the number that Greece translates. The total of translated books since the 9th century is about 100,000, almost the average that Spain translates in one year.

    The economic situation is no better. "The GDP in all Arab countries combined stood at $531 billion in 1999---less than that of a single European country, Spain [$595 billion]
    Random House, Inc. Academic Resources | The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis
     
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    14 million Jews. 0.2% World Population
    175 Jewish Nobel Prize Laureates For Science, Mathematics, Economics and Literature, 20% of All Nobel Prizes

    List of Jewish Nobel laureates - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    1.5 Billion Muslims, 23% World Population
    Just 4 Muslim Nobel Prize Laureates



    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl76nw92AJc]Jews and Muslims-Nobel Prize List (Latest) - YouTube[/ame]
     
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    "The Misery of Arabs/Apple R&D In Israel"
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA4wnqRAuhI]Apple to set up Israel development center - YouTube[/ame]
     
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    Washington Post: Arab nations lag behind rest of world economically, despite oil and natural gas
    Arab nations lag behind rest of world economically, despite oil and natural gas
     
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    The Economist Magazine: Arab World Self-Doomed To Failure

    WHAT went wrong with the Arab world? Why is it so stuck behind the times? It is not an obviously unlucky region. Fatly endowed with oil, and with its people sharing a rich cultural, religious and linguistic heritage, it is faced neither with endemic poverty nor with ethnic conflict. But, with barely an exception, its autocratic rulers, whether presidents or kings, give up their authority only when they die; its elections are a sick joke; half its people are treated as lesser legal and economic beings, and more than half its young, burdened by joblessness and stifled by conservative religious tradition, are said to want to get out of the place as soon as they can.

    One in five Arabs still live on less than $2 a day. And, over the past 20 years, growth in income per head, at an annual rate of 0.5%, was lower than anywhere else in the world except sub-Saharan Africa. At this rate, it will take the average Arab 140 years to double his income, a target that some regions are set to reach in less than ten years. Stagnant growth, together with a fast-rising population, means vanishing jobs. Around 12m people, or 15% of the labour force, are already unemployed, and on present trends the number could rise to 25m by 2010.

    Freedom. This deficit explains many of the fundamental things that are wrong with the Arab world: the survival of absolute autocracies; the holding of bogus elections; confusion between the executive and the judiciary (the report points out the close linguistic link between the two in Arabic); constraints on the media and on civil society; and a patriarchal, intolerant, sometimes suffocating social environment. The great wave of democratisation that has opened up so much of the world over the past 15 years seems to have left the Arabs untouched. Democracy is occasionally offered, but as a concession, not as a right. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are both sharply limited. Freedom House, an American-based monitor of political and civil rights, records that no Arab country has genuinely free media, and only three have “partly free”. The rest are not free

    Knowledge. “If God were to humiliate a human being,” wrote Imam Ali bin abi Taleb in the sixth century, “He would deny him knowledge.” Although the Arabs spend a higher percentage of GDP on education than any other developing region, it is not, it seems, well spent. The quality of education has deteriorated pitifully, and there is a severe mismatch between the labour market and the education system. Adult illiteracy rates have declined but are still very high: 65m adults are illiterate, almost two-thirds of them women. Some 10m children still have no schooling at all. One of the gravest results of their poor education is that the Arabs, who once led the world in science, are dropping ever further behind in scientific research and in information technology. Investment in research and development is less than one-seventh of the world average. Only 0.6% of the population uses the Internet, and 1.2% have personal computers.

    Women's status. The one thing that every outsider knows about the Arab world is that it does not treat its women as full citizens. How can a society prosper when it stifles half its productive potential? After all, even though women's literacy rates have trebled in the past 30 years, one in every two Arab women still can neither read nor write. Their participation in their countries' political and economic life is the lowest in the world.

    Arab development: Self-doomed to failure | The Economist
     

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