Why Are Muslims So Backward?

Nafisa, a friend, forwarded the following e-mail to me recently. It was one of those e-mails called junk that fly about on the Internet. While I merely chuckle after reading such mails, this one is so hautingly true and real that I felt strong enough about it as to reproduce it here as food for thought for my readers. We’ll conclude it next week and then I’ll answer the above question. Meanwhile, read. And think.

Happy 1430 Hijrah!
Happy? But the situation in the Muslim world is still sad as it was 500 years ago. Global influence and power have shifted to the Christian world – and have remained there ever since. The following figures speak for themselves. They are extracts of a speech delivered by Hafez A.B. Mohamed, Director-General of Al Baraka Bank.

o World Jewish population: 14 million

Distribution: 7m in America
5m in Asia
2m in Europe
100 thousands in Africa
o World Muslim population: 1.5 billion
o Distribution: 1 billion in Asia/Mid-East
400m in Africa
44m in Europe
6m in the Americas

o Every fifth human being is a Muslim.
o For every single Hindu there are two Muslims
o For every Buddhist there are two Muslims
o For every Jew there are 107 Muslims
Yet the 14 million Jews are more powerful than the entire 1.5 billion Muslims…
Here are some of the reasons.

Movers of Recent History
o Albert Einstein – Jewish
o Sigmund Freud – Jewish
o Karl Marx – Jewish
o Paul Samuelson – Jewish
o Milton Friedman – Jewish

Medical Milestones
o Vaccination needle: Benjamin Ruben – Jewish
o Polio vaccine: Jonas Salk – Jewish
o Leukaemia drug: Gertrude Elion – Jewish
o Hepatitis B: Baruch Blumberg – Jewish
o Syphilis drug: Paul Ehrlich – Jewish
o Neuro muscular: Elie Metchnikoff – Jewish
o Endocrinology: Andrew Schally – Jewish
o Cognitive therapy: Aaron Beck – Jewish
o Contraceptive pill: Gregory Pincus – Jewish
o Understanding of human eye: G. Wald – Jewish
o Embryology: Stanley Cohen – Jewish
o Kidney dialysis: Willem Kloffcame – Jewish

Nobel Prize Winners
In the past 105 years, the 14 million Jews have won 180 Nobel prizes whilst the 1.5 billion Muslims have achieved only 3 Nobel winners.

Inventions that changed History
o Micro-processing chip: Stanley Mezor – Jewish
o Nuclear chain reactor: Leo Sziland – Jewish
o Optical fibre cable: Peter Schultz – Jewish
o Traffic lights: Charles Adler – Jewish
o Stainless steel: Benno Strauss – Jewish
o Sound movies: Isador Kisee – Jewish
o Telephone microphone: Emile Berliner – Jewish
o Video tape recorder: Charles Ginsburg – Jewish

Influential Global Businesses
o Polo: Ralph Lauren – Jewish
o Coca-Cola: – Jewish
o Levi’s: Levi Strauss – Jewish
o Starbuck’s: Howard Schultz – Jewish
o Google: Sergey Brin – Jewish
o Dell Computers: Michael Dell – Jewish
o Oracle Computers: Larry Ellison: – Jewish
o DKNY: Donna Karan – Jewish
o Baskin Robbins: Irv Robbins – Jewish
o Dunkin’ Donuts: Bill Rosenberg – Jewish

Influential Policy-makers/Politicians
o Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State – Jewish
o Richard Levin, President of Yale University – Jewish
o Alan Greenspan, Chairman of US Federal Reserve (i.e. Central Bank) – Jewish
o Joseph Lieberman, US Senator – Jewish
o Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State – Jewish
o CasperWeinberger, US Secretary of Defence – Jewish
o Maxim Litvinov, USSR Foreign Minister – Jewish
o David Marshal, Singapore Chief Minister – Jewish
o Isaac Isaacs, Governor-General of Australia – Jewish
o Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman – Jewish
o Yevgeny Primakov, Russian PM – Jewish
o Barry Goldwater, US politician – Jewish
o Jorge Sampaio, President of Portugal – Jewish
o Herb Gray, Canadian Deputy PM – Jewish
o Pierre Mendes, French PM – Jewish
o Michael Howard, British Home Secretary – Jewish
o Bruno Kriesky, Austrian Chancellor – Jewish
o Robert Rubin, US Secretary of Treasury – Jewish

Global Media Figures
o Wolf Blitzer, CNN – Jewish
o Barbara Walters, ABC News – Jewish
o Eugene Meyer, Washington Post – Jewish
o Henry Grunwald, Time magazine – Jewish
o Katherine Graham, Washington Post publisher – Jewish
o Joseph Lelyeld, New York Times – Jewish
o Max Frankel, New York Times – Jewish

Global Philanthropists
o George Soros – Jewish
o Walter Annenberg – Jewish

o In the entire Muslim world (57 Muslim countries) there are only 500 universities
o In USA alone, 5,758 universities
o In India alone, 8,407 universities

Not one university in the entire Islamic World features in the Top 500 Ranking Universities of the World.

o Literacy in the Christian world – 90%
o Literacy in the Muslim world – 40%

•15 Christian-majority countries’ literacy rate – 100%,
•Muslim-majority countries with 100% – None;
•98% in Christian countries completed primary education,
•Only 50% in Muslim countries completed primary education;
•40% in Christian countries attended university,
•In Muslim countries, a dismal 2% attended university;
•Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per million,
•The USA has 5,000 per million;
•The Christian world – 1,000 technicians per million,
•Entire Arab world – only 50 technicians per million;
•Muslim world spending on R&D – 0.2% of GDP,
•Christian world’s R&D – 5.0% of GDP.
Another way of testing the degree of knowledge is the degree of diffusing knowledge:•Pakistan: 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 citizens,
•Singapore: 460 per 1,000 citizens.
•UK book titles per million is 2,000.
•Egypt book titles per million is only 17.
The Muslim World is failing to diffuse knowledge.
Applying knowledge is another such test.

•Exports of high-tech products from Pakistan: 0.9%
•In Saudi Arabia: only 0.2%
•Kuwait, Morocco and Algeria: only 0.3%
•Tiny Singapore (4mil pop.): 68% …!

…What I Think

Facts, it is said, do not lie. The above facts and figures, as well as the ones we published in this space last week, are proof enough that the 14 million Jews of this world have surpassed the Muslim (millions of whom are their cousins) in worldly accomplishments. From science to policy-making and politics, from inventions that changed history, to philanthropy, publishing and global business, the comparatively minority Jews have demonstrated greater clout than the Muslims (whose population is put at 1.5 billion). Here, the Jews may be seen in isolation, but their world has become part and parcel of the Christian world even though the duo have different faiths and cultural mores. From some of the reactions I received since last week, it seems that even Christians regard themselves as closer to the Jews than to the Muslims. It can, therefore, be argued that even though the focus of the above list is the Jews, the apparent competition for accomplishment in various human endeavours is strictly between the Judeo-Christian and the Muslim worlds. No doubt, the latter has been left far behind.

The list developed by Hafez A.B. Mohamed, Director-General of Al Baraka Bank, is not exhaustive, though. Many other prominent Jews have not been mentioned, such as CNN’s Larry King and French Prime Minister Sarcozy. Nor is the role being played by the Jews in the life of various countries, such as Nigeria where their companies have built bridges, roads and other structures, as well as their consulting in security matters.

The question then arises: Why are the Jews powerful and why are Muslims powerless? To answer the question, I must stress the fact that I’m not talking about spiritual superiority but achievements in mundane issues. Secondly, I am not saying Muslims did not achieve anything in history. After all, it is a known fact that Muslims had built one of the leading civilisations in world history, with Islam as the fastest growing religion in the largely Judeo-Christian Europe and America. And yes, many Judeo-Christian scientists that have etched their names in the annals of history used the seeds of knowledge and discoveries of early Muslim scientists and astronomers. Moreover, many scientific theories were found in Qur’anic verses.

But why are the Muslims less influential than the Jews and the Christians in the last 500 years? Why do the Muslim nations rely heavily on Western technology and other expertise for their comfort and security, as well as for developing their societies economically and socially? Is there anything like Muslim science and technology today?

Hafez A.B. Mohamed, in his speech, has given us reasons why Muslims are so backward compared to the Jews. In simple term, he summarised the problem thus: “The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge.” This does not, I reckon, mean that the Muslims had never produced knowledge; otherwise the accomplishments of early Muslim scholars would not have been possible. The stark reality is that Muslims seem to have ceased producing knowledge. They have, in addition, failed to apply the knowledge that their ancestors had produced. Instead, they have embraced Western expertise, upgrading it to the status of universal knowledge. In contrast, the Chinese, for example, have been applying their pristine knowledge system even as they use the West’s in some respects.

In the e-mail I received last week, Hafez A.B. Mohamed was quoted to have advised Muslims (or was it the view of an e-mailer?) thus: “Please educate yourself and your children. Excuses like lack of money, ability or opening are nothing more than that – excuses. Always promote education, don’t compromise on it. We hate to be weak, illiterate and poor but are we too weak to give our children the opportunity to break the curse?

“Don’t ignore your children’s slightest misguidance from education… and please, for Allah’s sake, don’t use your personal contacts to promote your children in their education. If they fail, let them because it will make them learn the sweetness of success. Remember, if they can’t do it now, they can’t ever.

“With knowledge comes power, and with it even the small can rule over the big. We are world’s biggest but sadly NOT strongest nation… Our opportunity to save all humankind is best through knowledge, creativity, literacy… And nothing else.”

There are other reasons for the Muslims’ backwardness. Muslims are divided on most of the important issues. The ummah has lost its grip on the rope of unity which the Almighty decrees for it to hold fast. Islamic political and religious leaders have created the disunity and ensured that it remains so because they benefit from its fallouts.

Muslims are also averse to self-criticism. A self-reappraisal of Muslim society and attitude is misinterpreted by some as an attack on the religion. This dogma is promoted by some zealots who, in turn, derive benefits from it. The problem is global: from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia and from Canada to Nigeria.

Muslims have no reason to be overtaken by the Jews in human endeavour. We must break the psychological chains that hold us back. Five hundred years of Judeo-Christian ascendancy has created enough reasons to galvanise us to attain greater heights. This is the wake-up call of any serious-minded Muslim. Barack Obama has just announced a new dawn for America. When will the Muslims wake up to their own?


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