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.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pakistan: Three Women Dead at Hands of Family

My last post relayed the true story of a young pregnant Pakistani woman who was stoned to death a few days ago by her own family members because she married a man of her own choosing and not the cousin that her family had picked out for her.

In light of new information that has surfaced regarding the man she married, I thought an update was in order. 

I, for one, was feeling sympathetic for the 45 year-old widower, Mohammad Iqbal, that 25 year-old Farzana Parveen Iqbal had married.  He had been widowed a few years ago and left with five children to raise, and now with Farzana's death, he became a widower yet again. 

The murdered Farzana Parveen Iqbal
But any sympathy I may have had for this man has been erased since I learned that he himself strangled his first wife to death six years ago because he was in love with Farzana and wanted to marry her.  Basically he himself got away with murder.  In Pakistan, as in several other countries, blood money can be paid or forgiveness can be given by immediate family members of the victim in order to absolve the murderer/killer of guilt.

Initially Iqbal was arrested in 2009 for the murder of his wife, however the charges were dropped when one of his sons forgave him.  What I don't understand is that Iqbal is Muslim, and Islam allows men to marry up to four women at any one time.  Why on earth did he opt to murder the mother of his five children when he legally could have taken on another wife?  Or why didn't he just divorce her?  What kind of Muslim does what he did?  I am sickened by this turn of events.

So far, only Farzana's father has been arrested in her death.  All the other participants in her stoning - about 20 men - have disappeared.

In another cruel twist to this story, Farzana becomes the second daughter in her family to have been murdered by her male relatives in an "honor killing."  Four years ago her sister Rehana was poisoned by her own family when they became disenchanted with the family she had married into - even though it was an arranged marriage, approved by each family.  Rehana's family demanded that she leave her husband, but she refused, so they killed her.

At least many people in Pakistan are outraged and have protested, calling for reform and justice.  

In this sad tale alone, three women are dead at the hands of their own husbands, fathers, and brothers.  This is utterly barbaric and sick behavior that has no basis in religion whatsoever.  What is wrong with these stupid men that they would rather kill their own daughter than to see her happy in marriage?  Why don't these men value the women of their family?  Women deserve better!   Heaven help us all.