Have you ever pondered what has been the contribution of Islam and Muslims to the world civilization until now?
The answer is very evident and straightforward: oppression, violence, discrimination, and fanaticism. These negative immoral values have been an essential part of Islam since its inception. Here is the evidence. Muhammad, the leader of Muslims claimed that he was a prophet, and in the name Allah, he ordered his followers to kill the infidels, non-Muslims; in particular, Jews and Christians. While Judaism and Christianity were spread peacefully under sacrifices by followers of Moses and Jesus, Islam was spread under the threat of the sword: Submit to Islam, otherwise youll be killed. Islam considers non-Muslims the enemies of Allah. For more details, check out Understanding Muhammad by Ali Sina. Also in the name of Allah, Muhammad urged his followers to conquer the world and force its people to convert into Muslims. Muslims call all this Futuhat (opening). The Muslim conquest was bloodier much worse than colonialism. The British and French colonialists never forced people to renounce their local faiths. For further details, check out Islamic Jihad by M.A. Khan. After Muhammads death, four of his staunchly contemporary followers took over, called the Caliphs, or Al Khulafa Al Rashidun (the rightly guided successors) as Muslims prefer to call them. Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, all of them were murdered by fellow Muslims in bitter fights for the leadership of the rising Muslim empire. Exploiting a power vacuum in the world after the decline of the Roman Empire, Muslims conquered big parts of the world: the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan (and other regions in Central Asia), parts of India, Bangladesh, parts of China, down to Malaysia, and Indonesia. As Omar Ibn Al Khattab, the second Caliph, was visiting Egypt after his troops had conquered it, he stood in front of the largest and most precious library in world at the time, in Alexandria, and asked, What is this? He was told it was a library. He stated, If its books say what the Koran says, then it is superfluous. If it doesnt, it must be destroyed. And it was destroyed. As a tourist, if you roam Arab and Muslim countries, what historical ruins do you sight? Certainly not Muslim ones. In Egypt you see Paranoiac ruins, in Iraq Babylonian ruins, in Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey you sight Greek and Roman ruins, in Lebanon Phoenician ruins, etc. Two beautiful churches were converted into mosques: the Sophia in Istanbul and the one that is now called Umayyah Mosque in Damascus. Since the inception of Islam, Muslims have always divided the world into Darrul-Islam, where Islam is the states religion, and Darul-Harb, where Muslims live in Kafir-states (infidel states) as a minority. According to a study by the AmericanUniversity in Cairo/Egypt, the majority of Muslims all over the world want to see Sharia, the law of Allah introduced and applied across the globe. Ideologically, i.e. religiously, Muslims have always claimed purity and supremacy of Islam over other religions, in particular Judaism and Christianity, which they allege have been deformed over the time. Mosques and madrassas all over the world preach this day in day out. Besides, it is unthinkable for the majority of Muslims to separate Islam from the state. They claim that Islam is a full-fledged system that regulates both religious and mundane life. They also believe that Sharia is the best law for all, every time and everywhere. Advocates of rationalism and secularism, like Ibn Khaldun (1336-1406) and Ibn Rushd (1126-1198), inspired by Greek philosophy, were prosecuted and put under house-arrest during the so-called golden ages of the Muslim empire. Both scholars were able to study Greek philosophy and write their scholarly works not in the center of the Muslim Empire, not in Baghdad and Cairo, but in its peripheries in Spain, which at the time enjoyed an economic and cultural prosperity. At present, Muslim scholars dare not criticize irrational archaic passages in the Koran and Hadith. They risk being killed or prosecuted. The Egyptian theologian Nasser Hamed Abu Zeid is a case in point. Heads of religious establishments, who predominantly were and are still fundamentalist, have enjoyed full power and have staunchly been allies of Arab-Muslim leaders. Religious establishments, run by ministries of religious affairs, called Wazarat Al Awqaf, or schools like Al Azhar in Cairo/Egypt, have always played a vital role in cementing the rule of political totalitarian regimes. Through their Ijtihad (efforts of interpretation) and fatwas they have tried to justify/legitimate the rulers actions whenever and wherever it is convenient to both. They have also played an important role in brain-washing the masses and hence helped subjugate them to the rulers will. Submission plays a pivotal role in subjugating the masses, especially the illiterate among them who constitute the majority in the Muslim world. The word Islam means basically submission. Additionally, according to both the Koran and Hadith, Muslims must subjugate to the will of Walee Al Amr (the ruler) and to elderly men in the family. Muslims are pacified by the tenet: It is all Allahs will. The reward will come in Paradise. Islam urges Muslims to surrender to the will of Walee Al Amr. It is haram (sinful) to object to the rulers will. As a result, Muslims learn hypocrisy and grow scared of the altruistic leadership. Further, Islam, including the Koran and Hadith, rejects the concept of democracy and formation of political parties which they believe they are pagan fads that only split the Muslim Umma (nation). Instead, Islam advocates Shura (consultation) among the powerful in society. Muslims address each other by akhi (brother) but in practice they do everything in their hands to accommodate their own interests and disregard the common good. Investing in the community is practically unknown in Muslim societies. The powerful do everything possible to subjugate the masses. Muslim leaders do not trust each other and do not tolerate criticism. Every one of them believes that they are acting correctly and those who disagree with them are branded as traitors. In addition, the Arab states have always fueled internal and external disputes to distract from their failure to introduce reforms, provide proper development, and deliver solutions. The Palestinian- Israeli conflict is a prime case in point. Hence, the Arab and Muslim states have always been plagued with internal division, conflict, and weakness. The Muslim empire, and later the majority of independent Muslim states over the 20th century have been and are still being ruled by undemocratic despotic regimes. They are either absolute monarchies like in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and Morocco, or semi military regimes like in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Saddams Iraq. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Indonesia have been ruled by the military on an on-and-off basis. Arab and Muslim societies are also plagued by delusion and a wishful illusionary mindset. The Arab and Muslim media are replete with brain-washing propaganda and conspiracy theories, depicting Islam as the best religious and socio-economic program for all times, and blame the abject misery in the Muslim world on Western hegemony. Ali Goma, the grand mufti of Egypt, claims that Islam is the best religion on earth. Those who do not like it, do so because they do not understand it. Islam apologists like Navid Kermani, an Iranian-German, claim that very few people understand Sharia. In other words, all those atrocious passages in the Koran and Hadith that incite to hatred, violence, and discrimination against women, are all a mere misunderstanding. While Muslims reject interests, demanded and paid by banks, as riba (usury) they, in reality, take and pay interests, but they call it murabaha (shared profit). They also brag that Islam has liberated women, but in theory and practice they are discriminated against and denigrated. Check out Is Islam a Violent Faith? and Women in Hadith. Muslim clerics also brag that the Koran is the best scientific book of all times. Zaghlul Al Najjar, a Muslim theologian, publishes weekly articles in the Egyptian Al Ahram propagating that the Koran is the most important scientific book of all times. Just because the Koran mentions the word tharra (atom), he alleges that the holy book of Muslims is the mother of all scientific books. Also, Muslim propagandists depict ad nausea a wonderful picture of the so-called golden ages of Islam which never were. Scholars like Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Rushed flourished in Spain and not in Riyadh, Baghdad, or Cairo. Undoubtedly, religion, any religion, becomes part of its followers culture. While Protestantism, according to Max Weber, enhanced the Industrial Revolution, Islam hampered all kinds of social and economic development of Muslims wherever they have lived. Under the title Culture and Economic Success, in the German monthly magazine Mercure, Siegfried Kohlhammer ponders over the relationship between culture and economic progress. Kohlhammer defines culture as the sum of values, religious norms and beliefs, traditional habits that sub- or unconsciously determine the thinking and behavior of people. Culture that we acquire and learn over the process of our socialization affects our Weltanschuung and perception of our intellectual, human and material environment around us. This also applies to Muslims where they constitute the majority, or live as minorities in developed states. Kohlhammer dedicates a big proportion of his article to explain why Muslims are economically less successful as a majority and less integrated, as immigrants. He believes that certain religious and cultural norms and beliefs hinder Muslims to achieve economic success. Kohlhammer argues that Muslims in general are extremely protective of their families, especially of their female members. They are also patriarchal. Unlike other cultural groups, they do not allow their female subordinates to work outside the home and strive for a career. The relationship between migrant Muslims and non-Muslim communities is dominated by suspicion and mistrust. Generally speaking, Muslims attribute their material failure to Allahs will. They believe that earthly life is trivial and not worth of being economically proactive. Some of them are deeply convinced that they are the only ones who would be allowed into Paradise. Ambition is equivalent to greed in the Arab Muslim culture. This attitude and restrictive economic incentives have become part of the Arab work ethics and economic culture. In order to survive in a repressive economic environment, Arabs and Muslims develop creative methods of deception towards the state and fellow citizens. Deceptive bargaining and bribing are an essential part of daily transaction. Retail salesmen would swear by Allah that the price is the cost price. As the customer turns to leave, they call them back and sell at the price offered by the customer, i.e. the cost price, which of course is not true. This kind of transaction is called Shatara (smartness) and dominates trade in Arab and Muslim countries, not rational honest trade. The majority of Arab and Muslim immigrants exploit the welfare system in Europe as also a kind of Shatara. In the Arab world, Arab regimes are not really interested in economic development for the whole population through a modern free economic market. The small number of successful Arab businessmen is an integral part of the regime. These people are usually partners of the regime. Economic repression is maintained as an instrument of political oppression. Basic consumer goods like bread, sugar, tea, etc. are subsidized by the state in an attempt to buy allegiance of the population and an instrument of control. A modern, free, deregulated market might create progress and prosperity. This, in turn, would empower people, further independence, and enhance them to demand democracy, free speech, and human rights. In most Arab Muslim countries, secure lucrative jobs are predominantly available in government departments and state-run institutions. The elite and people of the middle class are largely employed by the state apparatus. Most basic services and people who work for these services are controlled by the state. The private sector scarcely offers good jobs. A population growth of 2 3 percent yearly is increasingly making it difficult for both the state and private sector to provide enough jobs. Most Muslim states are bankrupt and the private sector is almost paralyzed. Nepotism and corruption are used to subsidize mediocre incomes and offset striding inflation. Potential bribe receivers are government officials, the police, judges, and even university professors. The rest of the population lives in dire deprivation. This corrupt environment is suffocating human energy, initiative, and creativity. It is generating a culture that is feeding conspiracy theories, and rumors, the others are guilty for our misery, primarily the West. Yet, Islamists and nationalists repeat ad nauseum, We are the best Umma (nation) on the earth, but the West is hampering our development. Solid economic planning is missing. Arab and Muslim state leaders and war lords keep their populations busy with atrocious clashes oiled by the same leaders and lords in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Afghanistan, and most recently Somalia. The political discourse of Arab regimes is defiant and belligerent. For instance, after Saddam Hussein of Iraq was executed, Al Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator, announced the erection of a statue for Saddam in every Libyan city. Most Arabs are experts in political and economic analysis, their favorite pastime conversation. Criticism of local political leaderships and demonstrations are hushed up and perpetrators punished by jail and torture. On the other hand, tiny demonstrations by international human rights organizations against Guantanamo are reported on every Arab state-controlled TV. As minorities, Muslims have not been either as successful as other ethnic and religious minorities, in both developed and underdeveloped countries. Minorities like Jews, Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Indians, Sikhs, and Armenians are the most successful people in North and South America, in Africa, and Asia, but Muslims are not. The Jews, the arch enemies of Muslims, in the U.S. make up just 1 percent of the American population, but enjoy a living and education standard that is 80% higher than that of their American compatriots. Sixteen percent of all Nobel Prize winners have been Jews. The Chinese community, for instance, in Indonesia (a country of a Muslim majority), in Thailand, and America is economically the most successful. The same applies to Japanese, Indian, and Korean ethnic minorities. In Uganda and Kenya, the Indian minorities contribute 35 percent of the gross national product. Muslim Arabs and Muslims in general in America and Europe are not so successful. In Great Britain, 61 percent of Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants (all Muslims) are jobless. Forty-eight percent of Pakistanis and 60 percent of Bangladeshis have a low standard of education. On the other hand, the income of Indians in the UK is higher than that of average Britons. In Sweden, while the rate of employment among the local population is about 74 percent, it is only 42 percent among Turks, 31 percent among Lebanese, 21 percent among Iraqis, and 12 percent among Somalis. On the other hand, according to a recent study by a team of researchers at the American University in Beirut/Lebanon, Arab Christians, as minorities in Muslim and non-Muslim societies, are economically more successful than their Muslim counterparts. The Muslim culture, loaded with a medieval repressive religion, called Islam, has never gone through a modernization process. Unless this happens, Islam will keep hampering progress in Muslim societies. Therefore, political and religious reforms are urgently needed in the Arab and Muslim world, and the enlightened world must increase it pressure on Arab/Muslim regimes to do so. Only then the war on deprivation and extremism can be won. Political and religious reforms are the key to development and peace in the Muslim world. Usually, Im not a pessimist, but this time around, I am.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dr. Sami Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, is a professor of Sociology and an Arab-Muslim culture specialist. He has taught at KuwaitUniversity, KingSaudUniversity, and MichiganStateUniversity. He also writes for the Jerusalem Post