One of the most common mistakes people make is to assume that Muslims are monolithic. For that matter, the far too many people also think that the “west” is monolithic. I attended a book launch at SOAS recently where there was this book on framing Muslims. I have to admit that I wasn't really impressed. The whole concept to me sounded very woolly and from what the authors said, there was clear ideological bias. So I dont think I will be buying the book.
Speaking to somebody after the event, I explained why I think this was so. You see, man is a social animal and will form social groups (so far so good). Social groups are formed based upon two concepts. First is to define what they are and second is what they are not. So when, for example, the blurb on amazon says something like this, “Can Muslims ever fully be citizens of the west?” that immediately tells me that the authors themselves are now guilty of framing Muslims themselves. When the basic research question is not independent, then the entire argument is a solution in search of a problem. In effect, they are themselves part of the problem of stereotyping. You might as well as ask, Can people who speak Serbo Croat or whatever fully be citizens of the west? They are not monolithic.
They also do not consider the flip side of stereotyping, the one done on the West. The West is also not a monolithic character? Mixing together everybody from Chile to China, India to Scotland aint making sense to me. No doubt stereotyping happens. No doubt framing happens. All I am saying is that that is human behaviour and there are many more dimensions to this than what the authors consider.
And then Orientalism was brought into the picture and that was the death kneel for me. I dont understand that orientalism logic at all but what do I know.
But I was reminded of an interesting article which I read last year. Here is the link. and abstract:
This study examines the religious participation of Islamic immigrants in Belgium using data from the Migration History and Social Mobility Survey collected in 1994–1996 from 2,200 men who had immigrated from Turkey and Morocco. Religious participation is measured as mosque attendance, fasting during Ramadan, and sacrificing a sheep at the Festival of Sacrifice. Results show that the religious participation of Islamic immigrants depends on both premigration and postmigration characteristics. Religious participation is higher among immigrants who: (1) attended a Koranic school in their country of origin, (2) were socialized in a religious region of their home country, (3) received little schooling, (4) currently live in an area of Belgium with a greater number of mosques, and (5) associate with a high number of co-ethnics. These results suggest that the religious participation of Islamic immigrants in Belgium is an outcome of characteristics unique to immigrants as well as processes common among the general population.
Curious, eh? to extend the results of this survey in Belgium and to try to answer the question raised in this book, one not only has to look at what better integration mechanisms to do in Belgium but also the factors behind the country of origin of the immigrants. (assuming that the level of religiousity is somehow linked to integration).
But complicated stuff and no simple answers. But look at this article on why are Jews so powerful.
Why are the Jews so powerful ? By: Dr Farrukh Saleem. (The writer is a Pakistani, an Islamabad-based freelance columnist.) January 12, 2009Posted by ibnmahadi in Uncategorized.
There are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven million in the Americas , five million in Asia, two million in Europe and 100,000 in Africa . For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims. Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together. Ever wondered why ?
Jesus of Nazareth was Jewish. Albert Einstein, the most influential scientist of all time and TIME magazine’s ‘Person of the Century’ was a Jew; Sigmund Freud — id, ego, and super-ego, the father of psychoanalysis was a Jew; So were Karl Marx, Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman.
Here are a few other Jews whose intellectual output has enriched the whole humanity:
- Benjamin Rubin gave humanity the vaccinating needle.
- Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine.
- Alert Sab in developed the improved live polio vaccine.
- Gertrude Elion gave us a leukaemia fighting drug.
- Baruch Blumberg developed the vaccination for Hepatitis B.
- Paul Ehrlich discovered a treatment for syphilis.
- Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in infectious diseases.
- Bernard Katz won a Nobel Prize in neuromuscular transmission.
- Andrew Schally won a Nobel in endocrinology (disorders of the endocrine system; diabetes, hyperthyroidism. Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy (psychotherapy to treat mental disorders, depression and phobias).
- Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill.
- George Wald won a Nobel for furthering our understanding of the human eye.
- StanleyCohen won a Nobel in embryology (study of embryos and their development) .
- Willem Kolff came up with the kidney dialysis machine.
Over the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 15-dozen Nobel Prizes while only three Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes).
Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip. Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor. Peter Schultz, optical fibre cable; Charles Adler, traffic lights; Benno Strauss, Stainless steel; Isador Kisee, sound movies; Emile Berliner, telephone microphone and Charles Ginsburg, videotape recorder.
Famous financiers in the business world who belong to Jewish faith include Ralph Lauren (Polo), Levis Strauss (Levi’s Jeans), Howard Schultz (Starbuck’s) , Sergey Brin (Google), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Donna Karan (DKNY), Irv Robbins (Baskin & Robbins) and Bill Rosenberg (Dunkin Donuts).
Richard Levin, President of Yale University, is a Jew. So are Henry Kissinger (American secretary of state), Alan Greenspan (fed chairman under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush), Joseph Lieberman, Madeleine Albright (American secretary of state), Maxim Litvinov (USSR foreign Minister), David Marshal (Singapore’s first chief minister), Isaac Isaacs (governor-general of Australia), Benjamin Disraeli (British statesman and author), Yevgeny Primakov (Russian PM), Jorge Sampaio (president of Portugal), Herb Gray (Canadian deputy PM), Pierre Mendes (French PM), Michael Howard (British home secretary), Bruno Kreisky (chancellor of Austria) and Robert Rubin (former American secretary of treasury).
In the media, famous Jews include Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Barbara Walters (ABC News), Eugene Meyer (Washington Post), Henry Grunwald (editor-in-chief Time), Katherine Graham (publisher of The Washington Post), Joseph Lelyyeld (Executive editor, The New York Times), and Max Frankel (New York Times).
Can you name the most beneficent philanthropist in the history of the world ? The name is George Soros, a Jew, who has so far donated a colossal $4 billion most of which has gone as aid to scientists and universities around the world. Second to George Soros is Walter Annenberg, another Jew, who has built a hundred libraries by donating an estimated $2 billion.
At the Olympics, Mark Spitz set a record of sorts by winning seven gold medals. Lenny Krayzelburg is a three- time Olympic gold medallist. Spitz, Krayzelburg and Boris Becker are all Jewish.
Did you know that Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk are all Jewish?
As a matter of fact, Hollywood itself was founded by a Jew. Among directors and producers, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Andrew Vaina (Rambo 1/2/3), Michael Man (Starsky and Hutch), Milos Forman (One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Douglas Fairbanks (The thief of Baghdad) and Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) are all Jewish.
To be certain, Washington is the capital that matters and in Washington the lobby that matters is The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Washington knows that if PM Ehud Olmert were to discover that the earth is flat, AIPAC will make the 109th Congress pass a resolution congratulating Olmert on his discovery.
William James Sidis, with an IQ of 250-300, is the brightest human who ever existed. Guess what faith did he belong to ?
So, why are Jews so powerful ?
Why are Muslims so powerless ?
There are an estimated 1,476,233,470 Muslims on the face of the planet: one billion in Asia, 400 million in Africa,44 million in Europe and six million in the Americas . Every fifth human being is a Muslim; for every single Hindu there are two Muslims, for every Buddhist there are two Muslims and for every Jew there are one hundred Muslims. Ever wondered why Muslims are so powerless ?
Here is why: There are 57 member-countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and all of them put together have around 500 universities; one university for every three million Muslims. The United States has 5,758 universities and India has 8,407. In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ , and intriguingly, not one university from Muslim-majority states was in the top-500.
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 ‘literate s’ 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.
Conclusion: 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. Pakistan ‘s exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at one per cent. The same for Saudi Arabia is 0.3 per cent; Kuwait , Morocco , and Algeria are all at 0.3 per cent while Singapore is at 58 per cent.
Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to apply knowledge.
Why are Muslims powerless? Because we aren’t producing knowledge.
Why are Muslims powerless? Because we aren’t diffusing knowledge.
Why are Muslims powerless? Because we aren’t applying knowledge.
And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies.
Interestingly, 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, Catholic Poland $489 billion and Buddhist Thailand $545 billion. (Muslim GDP as a percentage of world GDP is fast declining).
So, why are Muslims so powerless ?
Answer: Lack of Education ! All we do is shout to Allah whole day and blame everyone else for our multiple failures..!
I ask you, if this isnt stereotyping, then what is? At one shot, Jews are stereotyped. Muslims are stereotyped. As I responded to the mailing group, I said. If this logic is right, then the root cause of this is the religion. Then all Muslims need to do to become good and smart is to convert to Judaism. If Islam is the rationale behind this grouping and frame, then it leads inexorably to that argument. Which is obviously stupid, reductio ad absurdum, eh? See why I find books like this and arguments like this very strange?