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What if Saudi Arabia were a modern democracy.

Reader comment on item: [Pakistani Christians and] A War Against What?

Submitted by Anonymous (United States), Sep 28, 2003 at 22:35

While we go back and forth discussing what Islam is and is not, I sometimes do a thought experiment -- what if the middle-eastern oil-rich countries had modern democratic governments?
Would we have seen some world-class things coming out of that region? Like a world-class Ryadh philharmonic orchestra, or a Kuwait City linear accelerator, or a field medal winning mathematician from the University of Darhan. You get the idea. But Islamic world has not only failed the non-Islamic world, they have failed their own brothers. For example, I do not see a saudi mother-teressa-equivalent working in some impoverished muslim (let alone non-muslim) neighborhood. Or a huge endowment from Iraq or Tehran for a fellowship in arts to a university in Somalia. You again get the idea. The only endowments that I see coming out of that regions are donations to build huge mosques around the world (which perpetuate more of the same). The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

For most human beings the window to do good creative work ends by the time they are forty. And not-only that, the seeds of the highest quality work are sown much before you turn 10 or 15 if not even earlier. It is a choice that every human has to make -- you can either spend these short years in a class room, in a art theatre, a laboratory or in a Madrassa. In the little time that you have you can either hold a pen or a gun. Even if we grant that some of the Islamic regions in the world are under foreign occupation, from Gandhi to Martin Luther King, lots of sages around the world have shown us that when it comes to winning freedoms there are some good ways and there are some rotten ways. Day in and day out, muslim people are choosing the rotten ways and, thus, hurting their own cause.

If I were a muslim mother or father in today's world, I will pray in the privacy of my home, cuddle my kids in a cozy corner of the house, read them good passages from Quran and the biographies of Gandhi, Abdus Salam, MLK, and Einstein and keep my family away from all those people who have turned berserk a large section of humanity in the name of Allah and done so for more than a thousand years now. Perhaps there are many muslims who are doing it already but why are they unseen and unheard? They need to come forward and speak up in forums such as this. Anybody reading this message in the Palestine, in Karachi, in Srinagar, in Darhan, in sections of Bombay, in Tehran, in Kualalampur, Baghdad, even in New York?
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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