I am not a self-hating Arab, in fact, I am extremely proud of my Arab heritage, and neither am I a conspiracy theorist. Yet, I am not particularly fond of looking at the past and saying, “Oh! Once upon a time, we ruled most of the civilized world.”
Keyword: Once upon a time.
As a wise friend once said, Andalus Shmandalus, we now officially suck. Sadly, many centuries after the fall of the Abbassid state, we keep insisting that this terrible situation is a result of how we do not properly apply Islam in its entirety but how we instead pick and choose from something that should be applied as a “package” and how the entire world is in a conspiracy against us.
Religion is not the answer. Conspiracy theories will only grow more self-pitying “helpless” generations.
Instead, we need a hundred years and shitloads of education to pull ourselves out of this endless black pit we have dug with our own hands.
I spend most of my time at university reading as I find the classes extremely unchallenging, and the people sitting around me (students of the top Jordanian university) are always amused at how I can read such “thick” books. Further questioning made clear that not a SINGLE person who sits around me has EVER read a book outside of school curricula in his/her ENTIRE life.
What contributes to why we suck?
I can’t source all the numbers below as someone sent them to me by email, but even if you divide all these numbers by half, the results are still appalling.
There are an estimated 300,000,000 Arabs on the face of the planet.
All Arab countries except for Lebanon are Muslim in constitution. Lebanon has a Muslim majority.
As per data collected by the UNDP, literacy in the Christian world stands at nearly 90 per cent and 15 Christian-majority states have a literacy rate of 100 per cent. A Muslim-majority state, as a sharp contrast, has an average literacy rate of around 40 per cent and there is no Muslim-majority state with a literacy rate of 100 per cent.
Some 98 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Christian world had completed primary school, while less than 50 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Muslim world did the same. Around 40 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Christian world attended university while no more than two per cent of the
‘literates’ in the Muslim world did the same.
Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims. The US has 4,000 scientists per million and Japan has 5,000 per million.
In the entire Arab world, the total number of full-time researchers is 35,000 and there are only 50 technicians per one million Arabs. In the Christian world there are up to 1,000 technicians per one million.
Furthermore, the Muslim world spends 0.2 per cent of its GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends around five per cent of its GDP.
Conclusion: The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge.
Daily newspapers per 1,000 people and number of book titles per million are two indicators of whether knowledge is being diffused in a society. In Pakistan, there are 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 Pakistanis while the same ratio in Singapore is 360. In the UK, the number of book
titles per million stands at 2,000 while the same in Egypt is 20.
The Muslim world is failing to diffuse knowledge.
Exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports are an important indicator of knowledge application. Saudi Arabia’s exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at 0.3 per cent. The same for is 0.3 per cent; Kuwait, Morocco, and Algeria are all at 0.3 per cent while Singapore is at 58 per cent.
The Arab world is failing to apply knowledge.
The combined annual GDP of 57 OIC-countries is under $2 trillion. America, just by herself, produces goods and services worth $12 trillion; China $8 trillion, Japan $3.8 trillion and Germany $2.4 trillion (purchasing power parity basis).
Oil rich Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar collectively produce goods and services (mostly oil) worth $500 billion; Spain alone produces goods and services worth over $1 trillion, Poland $489 billion and Thailand $545 billion.
Why are we powerless? Because we aren’t producing knowledge. Because we aren’t diffusing knowledge. Because we aren’t applying knowledge. And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies. So, why are we so powerless?
Lack of education.
Like I said earlier, I can’t source the numbers because someone sent them to me by email, but even if you divide all these numbers by half, the results are still appalling.