Human Development in the Arab World: Islam is Blocking Progress

Human Development in the Arab World: Islam is Blocking Progress

by John L. Perkins

The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 24, Number 3.


 What motivates so-called Islamic terrorism? Commonly cited factors include resurgent fundamentalism, a sense of injustice due to the Palestinian situation, and discontent arising from the relative social and economic deprivation experienced by Muslim
countries, especially in the Arab world. The stark nature of these problems has been depicted recently in the Arab Human Development Report (AHDR 2003),

produced by a group of Arab specialists for the United Nations Development Programme. This is a follow-up of a similar report made in 2002,

the second of an expected four reports. The current report highlights the difficulties in producing a "knowledge society" in Arab countries and mentions in a guarded way the role of Islam in the Arab world's social, political, and economic difficulties.

The report conveys some alarming statistics. In Arab countries, the quality of higher education is declining and enrollment is down. Public spending on education has declined since 1985.
Expenditure on research and development is a tiny 0.2 percent of GNP, and there is a "political and social context inimical to the development of science." The number of scientists and engineers per capita is a third of the world average.

The number of computers per capita is a quarter of the global average.
The number of newspapers published per capita is a fifth of that of developed countries, and the little news that is disseminated is controlled and restricted.
The few books that are published are censored, and the proportion of religious books produced is three times the world average. The number of books translated into Spanish each year is one thousand times the number translated into Arabic.

On the subject of religion, the authors suggest that oppressive regimes and conservative religious scholars have colluded to produce "certain interpretations of Islam" that represent "serious impediments to human development, particularly when it comes to freedom of thought, accountability of the ruling authorities, and women's participation in public life."

Blaming tyrants and extremists may be a convenient option; unfortunately, the problem runs much deeper than that, as the authors may realize. In their call to "reclaim Arab knowledge," a reference to the preeminence that Arabs enjoyed in scientific knowledge from the seventh to the fourteenth centuries,
the authors define a quest to build a knowledge-based society where "knowledge diffusion, production and application become the organizing principle in all aspects of human activity: culture, society, the economy, politics and private life."


John L. Perkins is absolutely right!

Saudi TV Journalist Nadina Al Bedair Women in Saudi Arabia

- WSN TV interview


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Comment by BadHandshakers on June 17, 2011 at 8:20pm

That's the epitome of middle easterns!


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