Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What is the most truly Muslim country in the world?

The following article was written by Patsy McGarry and is reprinted from The Irish Times, Religion and Beliefs Section, published on June 9, 2014.

Ireland is ‘the most truly Muslim country in the world’ 

Israel is more compliant with the ideals of the Koran than any predominantly Muslim country, according to the study.   

Hossein Askari, Professor at George Washington University

The country in the world most faithful to the values of the Koran is Ireland, according to Hossein Askari, an Iranian-born academic at George Washington University in the US.

The country in the world most faithful to the values of the Koran is Ireland, according to an Iranian-born academic at George Washington University in the US.  Next are Denmark, Sweden and the UK.

In a BBC interview, Hossein Askari, Professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University, said a study by himself and colleague Dr. Scheherazade S Rehman, also rates Israel (27) as being more compliant with the ideals of the Koran than any predominantly Muslim country.

Not a single majority Muslim country made the top 25 and no Arab country is in the top 50.

He said that when their ‘Islamicity index’ was applied only Malaysia (33) and Kuwait (42) featured in its top 50 countries, compared to the US at 15, the Netherlands also at 15, while France is at 17. Saudi Arabia rated 91st, with Qatar at 111th.

In carrying out the study, they applied the ideals of Islam in the areas of a society’s economic achievements, governance, human and political rights, and international relations, he said.

On that index, “Muslim countries do very badly,” he said and accused them of using religion as an instrument of power.

Last November Professor Askari said that “we must emphasize that many countries that profess Islam and are called Islamic are unjust, corrupt, and underdeveloped, and are in fact not ‘Islamic’ by any stretch of the imagination.”

“Looking at an index of Economic Islamicity, or how closely the policies and achievements of countries reflect Islamic economic teachings - Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Norway, and Belgium round up the first 10.”

In their ‘Overall Islamicity Index’, a measure that encompasses laws and governance, human and political rights, international relations, and economic factors, “the rankings are much the same: New Zealand, Luxembourg, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands; and again only Malaysia (38) and Kuwait (48) make it into the top 50 from Muslim countries,” he said.

“If a country, society, or community displays characteristics such as unelected, corrupt, oppressive, and unjust rulers, inequality before the law, unequal opportunities for human development, absence of freedom of choice (including that of religion), opulence alongside poverty, force, and aggression as the instruments of conflict resolution as opposed to dialogue and reconciliation, and, above all, the prevalence of injustice of any kind, it is prima facie evidence that it is not an Islamic community,” he said.

“Islam is, and has been for centuries, the articulation of the universal love of Allah for his creation and for its unity, and all that this implies for all-encompassing human and economic development,” he concluded.

The actual BBC interview is fascinating.  CLICK HERE to listen to part of the BBC interview with Dr. Hossein Askari.  


  1. When I lived in Egypt, a popular religious leader said something to the effect of, "I have travelled all over the work, and seen Islam but not Muslims. Here in Egypt, I see Muslims but no Islam." I have a theory that governments with heavily religion-influenced legal systems tend to exert more control over their people. I don't know if people discouraged from questioning their faith tend to also be discouraged from questioning their religious leaders.

  2. Assalam Alaykum, Susie!
    very interesting point of view...

  3. Given how much alcohol the Irish drink (or any European country for that matter), I don't think this kind of list is serious.

    1. Jerry - I don't think that was one of the things included in the criteria of this study.

  4. I have a more serious response to this. The better off countries in Europe have all abandoned any pretense to strict Christianity. In the US you have something similar. The most Christian states are the poorest and have the highest divorce rates. The Muslim world needs to abandon having a state religion if they want to get the best results for their people. That may be counter-intuitive to a believer but it is true.

    1. I totally agree with you, but I don't see it happening in Muslim countries unfortunately.

  5. To go with Jerry Mc Kenna, given how islamophobic is France (my country) I, too, have great doubts about the seriouness of this study.

  6. Mrs. Susie, AlSalamu aleekom,
    I will have to say it is true that Arab countries have not been very faithful with their trading and financing which is something I should be ashamed off as a Saudi Arabian. But as a Muslim I am very proud because these countries wouldn't be as good economically without the righteous guide of Allah by applying the right Islamic laws.

  7. As Jerry says, religiousity seems to be associated with the less-advantaged nations (though that's just an observation of my own as well), perhaps because it gives the downtrodden, the poor and the ill-treated a higher power to appeal to. And I'm also with Estelle in having doubts about the study...not that I think it's not serious, but rather the criteria for determining "Islamicity" seem to be cherry-picked and finely honed to support a philosophical agenda.

    I think it's an intriguing cherry-picking exercise but I also think it would be hard to gain concensus among academics on the criteria. Just as, if we were studying, say, "humor" we couldn't just say "Well, here are some funny jokes; let's see which people have the best sense of humor." First off, you would need to establish whether the jokes really are funny.

  8. I agree with jveeds, before studying certain criteria define those criteria first! That man should have oriented the study in other way. Who'd say that about one of the most catholic countries?

  9. I think there is some truth. When i see a new reverts they tend to be more studious in the quran and hadits and at the same time try very best to immulate the true way of Islam. Than those who were being born muslims.