After the events of 9/11, Professor Lewis, in The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, also noted that much of the animosity directed toward the West, particularly the
, is due to old-fashioned
envy—stemming from Western progress and Islamic decline. As one reviewer put
it, the crux of Lewis's argument is “the sources of rage among Muslims stem
from the deep frustration over the loss of a cultural primacy that was once
theirs and has now been lost to the forces of modernity, especially as
represented by the United
States .” United
As Muslim savages rage against the U.S. abroad, it is rather telling to examine “the loss of cultural primacy” within Islam, along with the overall effect Islam is having on nations and individuals the world over. Of the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), as rated by the Economists Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy, none are full democracies, while 36 are authoritarian regimes (dictatorships). Of the Index’s 10 most authoritarian regimes, 6 of them are members of the OIC.
Muslims are over 23 percent of the world population and produce barely eight percent of global GDP. The average GDP rank for the members of the OIC is 102 (out of 211 nations). The total GDP of the 57 member OIC is approximately $4.9 trillion. That is about one-third of the GDP of the
alone ($14.4 trillion). U.S.
According to the United Nations’ 2009 Arab Human Development Report, “For nearly two and half decades after 1980, the [Arab] region witnessed hardly any economic growth. World Bank data show that real GDP per capita in the Arab countries grew by a mere 6.4 per cent over the entire 24 year period from 1980 to 2004 (i.e. by less than 0.5 per cent annually).” One in five Arabs lives on less than $2 per day.
Illiteracy plagues the Arab world. About a third of those living in Arab countries cannot read. This includes about half of all women. There are fewer than 18 computers per 1,000 persons in the Arab world, compared to the global average of 78.3; and only 1.6 percent of Arabs use the Internet.
In the 57 nations in the OIC there are a total of about 500 universities. There are over 5,700 in the
In just over 100 years, the
Muslim world has produced nine Nobel Laureates while a mere 14 million Jews
have produced 166. There are about 400 scientists and engineers per 1 million
people in research and development in Arab countries, compared to about 4,000
per million people in U.S. North America.
Particularly disturbing, and most telling, as one examines Islam, is the role of women in Islamic society. Islamic law (Shariۥa) prohibits women from looking men in the eye, forbids them from wearing shoes that make noise, and forbids them from becoming educated. As Ergun and Emir Caner note in Unveiling Islam, “women are considered possessions in any orthodox Islamic regime…The wife is considered the husband’s sex object.” Also, one of the most alarming admonitions in the Koran allows the husband to punish his wife physically.
Of the 8 nations that the
has placed on its State
Sponsors of Terrorism list, 6 of them are Islamic regimes. Of the 16 nations
States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has under its
Country of Particular Concern designation, 11 are Islamic regimes (all of the
others are differing authoritarian regimes, including U.S. North Korea, China,
Nice company, huh? Vietnam
Religious freedom in Islamic states such as
is virtually non-existent. Like many other Muslim countries, Saudi law states
that Islamic apostasy—denying the faith or converting to another religion—is a
crime punishable by death. In 2006, Afghan citizen Abdul Rahman was arrested
(after it was discovered that he possessed a Bible) and faced the death penalty
for converting to Christianity. Intervention by Afghan president Hamid Karzai
resulted in the charges against Rahman being dismissed. Saudi Arabia
Leading Afghan clerics were highly critical of Karzai, noting that “The Qur'an is very clear and the words of our prophet are very clear. There can only be one outcome: death.” This attitude is very prevalent across the Arab world, validating Professor Lewis’s notion that “many Muslims are beginning to return” to the “classical [violent and repressive] Islamic view.”
in 2007, two Turkish converts to Christianity were killed in the Malatya Bible Publishing
Firm murders. Also in 2007, Mohammed Hegazy became the first Egyptian Muslim
officially to seek to convert to Christianity. An Egyptian judge ruled that,
“He can believe whatever he wants in his heart, but on paper he can't convert.”
Muslim clerics issued fatwas calling for his death. His wife’s family has sworn
to kill her because she married a non-Muslim. They are both currently in
All of this pales to the slaughter in
. The Institute on Religion
and Democracy reports that “since 1983 Sudan Sudan
has been devastated by a jihad or holy war led by the militant National Islamic
Front, the ruling regime in Khartoum, against
all in Southern Sudan and the who opposed the
imposition of Shariۥa, or Islamic law. The
government-sponsored terror has resulted in the deaths of at least two million
moderate Muslims, animists, and Christians.” Nuba
Of course, as the Caners point out, “Any major religion must first be seen through the eyes of its founder…Muhammad commanded in the Qurۥan, ‘Fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them’ (surah 9:5)…in a world searching for peace, following the life of this warrior brings about bloodshed.” Moments before Abu Mus'ad Al Zarqawi cut off the head of American Nicholas Berg, he said these words in Arabic: “The Prophet, the master of the merciful has ordered to cut off the heads of some of the prisoners of Badr in patience. He is our example and a good role model.”
Zarqawi knew that Muhammad had often used beheading as the means of executing his enemies. Thus, Zarqawi was unmistakably choosing to emulate his “good role model” and spiritual leader.
Clearly, by and large, Islam is an enforced religion with a violent founder, a violent founding, and a very violent past and present. Islam is generally repressive to women and to those of other faiths. Islam is typically financially devastating and technologically backward. Any politician—republican, democrat, and the like—who attempts to paint Islam or Islamic nations in a positive light is at the least not giving the whole picture, and is at the worst, a political coward.
(See this column on American Thinker.)
Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant ThomasAt the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World