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A Scandalous Retreat

Reader comment on item: Muslims "Lagging Behind"

Submitted by Abu Nuwas (Saudi Arabia), Dec 26, 2006 at 09:00

The picture of Moslem backwardness is bleaker than any report or survey could possibly portray. With regards to the Arab Moslem world:

1. Many observers, usually long-time Western residents of the Middle East, almost to a man, would describe the situation in this area as not just "lagging", but actually going in reverse and at an increasing speed as time goes on. There appears to be a systemic and generic aversion, fear and incomprehension of the modern world and a concomitant visceral rejection of it.

In a recent ranking of the top 3000 universities in the world, (http://www.webometrics.info), the Middle East lagged behind every other world area, including Africa and Latin America.. Even such well-known (and once rightfully proud) institutions as the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo ranked well beyond the 1000 mark. Other area institutions made a cameo appearance somewhere around the 2000 mark or thereabouts. (And let's face it, after the number 500, why even bother).

Even in the Middle Eastern section of this survey, not a single Arab institution made the top

20. Those "seats" were reserved for universities in Turkey or Israel. In one Arab country,. these jaw-dropping facts caused a furor among the elite and were called a "national disgrace" in the local press.

It seems every time the Arab world encounters "modernity" even in mundane affairs, it gets slapped back down in no uncertain terms. Arab students going to the West and especially to the US to study, for example, are notorious for being unable to "adjust" to even elementary strictures of conformity. They're always "late", get into all kinds of jams with traffic police, and on and on.

2. The underlying cause of this sociopathic world view is the realization that for full participation in the modern world, Islam – the religion – would have to adjust to it. This would mean a lot of things. It would mean, for example, the abolition or at least the toning down of Ramadan, the period of fasting. It would mean the abolition or at least the toning down of praying five times a day at specific periods. No Moslem, no matter how enlightened he might be or says he is, could possibly conceive of such an adjustment. In a word, he would rather die than live in a world where Islam took a back seat to modernity.

The cataclysmic events in or originating in the Middle East, especially during the last 6 years, are directly attributable to the realization of the "incommensurability" of Islam with modernity. As is plainly clear, there are all kinds of people ready to die than to exist in a "post-Islamic" world.

As to the future, I predict the eventual marginalization of the Middle East as a non-participant in world affairs. Western man will continue his preparations to visit the stars and Islamic man will continue his preparations to visit Mecca on the Hajj.

Submitting....

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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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