The Most Pressing Issues for the Muslim World
The Western World
The western world made tremendous progresses in terms of tackling these above issues. Overall, the societies of these nations are enjoying stable life at least materialistically. They are in the process of providing security, rights, food and health care for every citizen in their countries. We know for example, in the United States, all these above are the rights of its entire people.
The Muslim World
The Muslim world faces the challenges of war, poor healthcare, poverty and violations of human rights, illiteracy, lack of progress, dictatorship, lack of political transparency, ethnic conflict, and regional divisions. Illiteracy is a problem in majority of Muslim countries. We know all these problems are interconnected. The lack of literacy leads to lack of progress, and lack of progress leads to lack of development, which leads to dictatorship, which in turn leads to lack of political transparency, which also leads to power struggles that lead to regional divisions and ethnic conflict. Majority of the Muslim world today is characterized by these aliments. This can raise a legitimate question of why the Muslim world is behind its Western counterpart. Is it because of Islam? Unless one knows the history of the world; the true examples of Muslim leaders; the difference between Islam and culture – it is hard to know why the Muslim world is so behind the Western world. Thus, Islamophobes blame Islam as the cause of the backwardness of Muslim nations. But the reality is contrary to that. Islam is a religion of progress, innovation, and development. It is a religion of every generation, time, and location. It is a religion of civilization; it is a way of life.
It must be noted that the Islamic Caliphate collapsed in 1924. Naturally, when a civilization collapses, another one rises. When Europeans took the power, unlike the Islamic Caliphate, they created a new imperial power engaged in slavery and colonization. In fact, the Islamic Caliphate almost eradicated these practices after the Romans and Persians. The European conquerors focused a lot on the Middle East, Africa, and South America. They did not conquer the lands only, but they enslaved the people as well. They divided the same native and homogeneous nations into enclaves and different nations. In the 1950s, there were uprisings for independence against these colonial powers. After heavy struggles, the colonial powers were forced to leave many countries. However, they only left physically but stayed there intellectually and psychologically. In other words, they handed the rule and the government affairs to their chosen representatives or puppet regimes. Thus, the people in many countries never got real independence.
This actually creates a contradictory situation of government against its people and people against their government. People see the government as their number one enemy, while the government sees its own people as enemies. This led the government to not allow any political parties other then the ruling party. Corruption, totalitarian dictatorship and deprivation of basic human rights such as education, freedom of speech, free enterprise, political participation, to name a few became the normal practice of governments. Sadly, the people attack and see the government property as stolen from them. People loot the school and hospital equipments because of the resentment against their government.
Therefore, when the government and its people are not cooperative in running their affairs and there is dishonesty, chaos and lack of development become the norms for these countries. This leads to low human development index, which is measured by three indicators – life expectancy at birth, (long and healthy life), literacy, and income. The majority of Muslim nations fall in the low middle or bottom of the list in all these indicators according to the UN report on Human Development Index. In United Nations report in 2009 on least and most corrupted nations, again majority of Muslim countries fell in the top of the list for corruptions. The UN report on 2006 of the most and least livable countries in the world, again none of the Muslim countries made the list of most livable countries. IslamicGlory.com reported the following statistics, even though the reality on the ground may be different than what the statistics show, nevertheless, there are immense co-relations between these statistics and conditions of Muslim countries.
In the entire Muslim World (57 Muslim Countries), there are around 500 universities. On the other hand, there are 5,758 universities in the USA alone, and 8,407 universities in India. In a research done by the UNDP in 2004, not one university in the entire Muslim world was featured in the top 500 ranking universities of the world. Literacy in the western world, predominantly Christian, is 90%, whereas the literacy of the Muslim world is 40%. Furthermore, 98% of these predominantly Western countries completed at least primary education, whereas only 50% of Muslim countries completed primary education. Similarly, 40% of western countries attended university, whereas only 2% of Muslim countries attended university. The Muslim majority countries have 230 scientists in every one million people, whereas, USA alone has 5,000 scientists in every one million. Muslim countries spend on research 0.2% of their GDP, whereas, Western countries spend 5% of their GDP on research. There is a huge gap on the number of sick people to the number of doctors. For example, in Indonesia, there are about 10,000 patients for every one doctor, whereas, in Spain, there are about 500 sick people for every one doctor. In 1995, the average yearly income per citizen in Pakistan was $300, whereas in Britain it is more than $ 12,000. Registered patent in 1995 in Egypt is 77, whereas it is 7,652 in Israel.
The majority of the responsibility for this lack of human development in Muslim countries is to be blamed on Muslims themselves. After all, these are their countries and their affairs. However, what is shocking is the hypocrisy and double standard of the United States Policy towards these courtiers. Even though, the conditions of majority of Muslim countries are the same, we will take Egypt as an example because of the recent Revolution. President Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt for about 30 years before he was forced out by popular uprising in February, 2011. During those 30 years, America had five Presidents. We know Hosni Mubarak was a repressive, authoritarian dictator, who killed, tortured, imprisoned, and exiled thousands of his own people, while he kept millions of others in sub-humane conditions. The Egyptian people rose up to Mubarak’s regime after many years of humiliation. In this uprising for basic life, hundreds were killed while thousands were injured. American ABC television reported that Mubarak’s family may have up to 70 billion dollars and his assets were scattered around the world – from New York, Los Angeles, California, Dubai, Landon and Paris. Five Million Egyptians live in the dead city in inadequate houses. The average Egyptians work for $400 a month and if Mubarak’s 70 billion dollars were divided among 80 million Egyptians, each will get $843. The United States reiterated numerous times that Hosni Mubarak is a key ally of stability in the region. This shows the United Sates deception on the claim for democracy and pro-human rights. In reality, American politicians work behind the scenes on ways to keep Mubarak until they find replacement for another 30 years. On the other hand, they dishonestly put on the headlines the message of fear of the Muslim Brotherhood participating in the political process. What if the Egyptian people chose the Muslim Brotherhood in fair election? Isn’t the Muslim Brotherhood part of the fabric of Egyptian society? In the worst scenario, is the Muslim Brotherhood farther than the Tea Party in the US elections? This indicates that the US administration is enjoying the suffering of millions of Egyptians who live on a $1 a day in sub-poverty levels; thousands of Egyptians to be illiterate; hundreds of Egyptians to die from preventable diseases; millions more to be unemployed; and thousands of human activists, innocent citizens, political figures to be tortured, abused, exiled and their basic human rights denied.
What the American government does not understand is that the Muslim world will never be the same again. First, technology has made communication more effective. For example, the Egyptian people tried to revolt many times in the past, but they did not get the means for the outside world to hear. But at this time Al-Jazeera, Facebook, Twitter, and Google to name a few – made it possible to organize the movement for change. Second, the Muslim world has a large number of young people, with technological skills. So, they will never accept to live in sub-human conditions while their Western counterparts enjoy freedom. Third, the USA’s credibility in the Muslim world is really at stake for its unethical preemptive wars and renditions. Thus, the US needs to re-evaluate its policy towards these countries. The puppet regimes in the Middle East are getting old, and they are despised by their people. Replacements which the West and Israel are trying to find will not be accepted by young Muslim generations. They will only accept representative government that comes to power through free and fair elections.