A few days ago Yin Ee Kiong posted an interesting letter on the pages of Malaysiakini introducing the concept of Islamicity, a system whereby a country is assessed in terms of its adherence to Islamic principles.
While searching for Yin's source material I came across a much more interesting paper by the same authors: ‘An Economic Islamicity Index (EI2) ' by Scheherazade S. Rehman and Hossein Askari.
In this paper the authors ranked 208 countries on the basis of their adherence to Islamic principles in twelve fundamental areas:
1. Economic opportunity and economic freedom.
2. Justice in all aspects of economic Management.
3. Better treatment of workers including job opportunities and equality of access.
4. Higher education expenditure including equality of access.
5. Poverty eradication, aid, and providing basic human needs, no hoarding of wealth.
6. A more even distribution of wealth and income.
7. Better social infrastructure and provision of social services through taxation and social welfare.
8. Higher savings and investment rates i.e. management of natural and depletable resources.
9. Higher moral standard, honesty and trust exhibited in the marketplace and in all economic interactions i.e. less corruption.
10. Islamic Financial System I: risk sharing as opposed to debt contracts i.e. a supportive financial system and elimination of speculation.
11. Islamic Financial System II: financial practices that includes the abolition of interest.
12. Higher trade/GDP, higher foreign aid/GDP and higher degree of environmental preservation and vigilantly supervised markets i.e. overall state effectiveness in achieving economic prosperity -- general economic prosperity.
The good news is that Malaysia was ranked first among the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries.
The bad news is that there were 32 NON Islamic countries that fared better in terms of Islamicity than did Malaysia.
Amongst those 32 countries are all those evil western countries that Umno would have us believe are hell bent on destroying those Islamic principles which make Malaysia such a wonderful country
The news gets worse: when compared to a raft of other country groups the OIC countries performed worse than all but the low income countries.
Comparisons were made with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and non-OECD countries and high and middle income countries.
And the news gets even worse, the OIC countries for all their oil wealth and the fact that they make up 22 percent of the world's population can currently generate only six percent of the world's GDP and nine percent of global exports.
To further illustrate the disappointing level of economic development in the Islamic world, we can compare the OIC GDP of US$3.2 trillion with that of the United States, which stood at US$13.9 trillion in 2007.
This essentially means that the entire Islamic world's GDP is approximately only 23 percent of that of the United States.
The bottom line for all this is that Malaysian Muslims need to take a long hard look at themselves, in particular the way they have abused their religion for less than Islamic reasons because the end result is far from the pretty picture they pretend exists.