Israel, Singapore more Islamic than Malaysia, study suggests


The Malay Mail Online
JUNE 11, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — Malaysia is behind Israel and Singapore in a ranking measuring the “Islamicity” of countries in which no Muslim country managed to break into the top 25 of the ladder.

But the Southeast Asian nation is also the best-ranked among Muslim countries in the world, coming in at 33rd; the next highest-placed was Kuwait (42nd) while Saudi Arabia — the birthplace of Islam — was 91st.

No Arab nation breached the top 50.

Ireland came in at the head of the index, followed by Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden. Singapore was 8th and Israel 27th.

Dubbed the “Overall Islamicity Index” and conducted by Hossein Askari, a professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University, the survey applied the ideals of Islam in the areas of a society’s economic achievements, governance, human and political rights, and international relations.

“We must emphasise 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,” Askari said during an interview with BBC World.

According to the scholar, this was due to the use of Islam as an instrument of power and politics in Muslim countries.

“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.

Askari’s conclusions regarding the use of Islam as a political instrument is observable in Malaysia, where the two largest Muslim political parties and staunch rivals — Umno and PAS — are engaged in a religious auction to court the support of the majority Malay-Muslim electorate.

Each has vied with the other to be “more Islamic” in the eyes of the public and inculcated a “siege mentality” in the Malay community that has strained race relations in multi-racial and multi-cultural Malaysia.

Putrajaya has also been accused of persecuting Malaysia’s religious minorities in a bid to appeal to its traditionally rural Malay-Muslim voter base.

Among others, it has outlawed Shiah — the second-largest denomination in Islam — and pursued the Catholic Church over the use of “Allah”, the Arabic word for God, in a Christian newsletter.

Umno and PAS are also now engaged in apparent attempts to introduce hudud, the Islamic penal code that prescribes stoning and the amputation of limbs as among its punishments, in the country.

While prevalent over the decades, the use of religion as a political platform accelerated after Election 2008 when the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) lost its customary parliamentary supermajority in a so-called “political tsunami”.

The shift has also seen the rise of Malay-Muslim pressure groups such as Perkasa and Isma, who are increasingly vocal in their demands for the government to prioritise the community over all others in Malaysia.

Muslims make up 61.3 per cent of the Malaysian population, followed by Buddhists at 19.8 per cent, and Christians at 9.2 per cent, according to the latest census data from 2010.

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  1. #1 by Justice Ipsofacto on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 - 4:20 pm

    What about islam jenis umno?

    Surely malaysia would rank no.1 in the world.

  2. #2 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 - 4:58 pm

    Very interesting results and intuitively true. Problem with many of the so-called Islamic states is that they pay more attention to form than substance.

    • #3 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 - 10:43 pm

      All are European countries. You have to know their religious background. And all the Muslims fleeing away from their own countries to find hope and a future in another country. You can manipulate your image so that the perception given is acceptable to all. I think most of the times the powerful ones determine. But the majority with no power just want to live a life. Reality versus idealism. The everyday life versus the once a while act.

  3. #4 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 6:41 am

    This man Hossein Askari is trying to confuse people. He must be when by his “Overall Islamicity Index” nearly all Islamic countries score badly whilst a catholic country like Ireland or secular one like Singapore and worst still the country that Islamic counties hate most –Israel- score higher. Like most “indexes” it depends on one’s selection of the criteria. If one chooses selectively those aspects or rather aspirations of a System of religious belief consonant with universality, tolerance and no coercion, human & economic development one will get the results of his Islamicity Index. If one selects Hudud as criteria, moral policing, how much every aspect of one’s life to be governed entirely, as least publicly, by one’s religion, then Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan Taliban will score high!

  4. #5 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 7:10 am

    As in “indexes” whether to measure Islamicity, educational standards or even intelligence it depends on one’s selective choice and definition of the criteria for measurement. If hudud and moral policing (rather than human/economic development or tolerance) were criteria in islamicity Index, then Saudi Arabia will score high. If imagination were criterion for intelligence Einstein scores highest but if some kind of innate ability to learn fast as shown even in childhood, then Einstein being slow learner would measure not intelligent. If measuring economic prowess/wealth of nation focuses on per capita, Brunei and Qatar rank higher than US but if population factored in, the US will be tops. If one wants to measure which people has greatest potential to create wealth for themselves in the future based only on the criteria of present willingness to toil & work hard, the farm women of Somalia or sex worker in Bombay will score higher in potential than high flying traders and fund managers of Wall Street.

  5. #6 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 7:26 am

    Ultimately it depends on whether criteria selected to measure Islamicity is (objectively) logical and relevant and has nexus to the main core values and beliefs of the Islamic faith. In that selection of criteria Professor Hossein Askari will be very different from our PAS spiritual leader (Nik Aziz) but who says that Askari with his PhD in Economics from MIT is more learned and knows more of Islam than our Nik Aziz with Masters in Islamic jurisprudence from Al-Azhar University, Egypt?

  6. #7 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 7:35 am

    This man Hossein Askari then in coming out with this stunt of “Overall Islamicity Index” that disqualifies nearly all Islamic countries and concluding a catholic country like Ireland or secular one like Singapore and worst still the country that Islamic countries hate most –Israel- score higher in Islamicity is just trying to poke fun at hypocrisies of claims to Islamicity in those so called Islamic countries, camouflaging the whole exercise under a cover of some pseudo-intellectual index test (actually viewed from prism of western secular values) lest he be accused of mocking the faith.

  7. #8 by bangkoklane on Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 2:11 pm

    the peace and harmony promenade starting in Penang, Persiaran Karpal Singh…

  8. #9 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 4:42 pm

  9. #10 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 11:26 pm

    Thanks for actual research paper. The authors are dismissive of current academic work revolving between contrarian positions of degree of religiosity as a dependent or independent variable in relation to economic behaviour or performance. They challenge and are dismissive of the 2 schools of academic thought by arguing claims to religiosity are by no means indicative of true adherence to tenets and creed of the religion. And then proceed from there to argue that empirical data of dismal economic development eg in Middle East is therefore “shortcoming of the governments, not the religion”. This being the case the authors’ overarching aim is to defend the religion of Islam against the necessary conclusions embedded in either position of treating degree of religiosity as a dependent or independent variable in relation to economic behaviour or performance. Towards that defence, and advancement of their excuse that shortcoming of the governments, not the religion is responsible for Middle East States they were prepared to go the length of deriding these countries’ claims to Islamicity. Here I address only the authors’ intentions – not the inherent merits or honesty of the authors’ contentions which require lengthier treatment than that which space allows here.

  10. #11 by pulama on Friday, 13 June 2014 - 7:55 am

    The Malay Mail reports “Overall Islamicity Index”. Four indices together make up the Islamicity Index (I2):
    (1) Economic Islamicity Index (EI2),
    (2) Legal and Governance Islamicity Index (LGI2),
    (3) Human and Political Rights Islamicity Index (HPI2), and
    (4) International Relations Islamicity Index (IRI2).
    [How Islamic are Islamic Countries, Scheherazade S. Rehman and Hossein Askari, Global Economy Journal, Volume 10, Issue 3, Article 2, 2010]

    TheGrapesOfWrath pointed to another article by the same authors which only describes “Economic Islamicity Index (EI2) to assess the extent that self-declared Islamic countries adhere to Islamic doctrines and teachings”. [An Economic Islamicity Index (EI2), Scheherazade S. Rehman and Hossein Askari, Global Economy Journal, Volume 10, Issue 3, Article 1, 2010.]

    Both studies included secular countries for comparison. That “Israel, Singapore more Islamic than Malaysia, study suggests” was due to better govenance in those two countries. Their economic and financial policies conform more closely with Islamic teachings.

  11. #12 by bush on Friday, 13 June 2014 - 10:57 am

    MUSLIMS ARE NOT HAPPY

    They´re not happy in Gaza .
    They’re not happy in Egypt .
    They’re not happy in Libya .
    They’re not happy in Morocco .
    They’re not happy in Iran .
    They’re not happy in Iraq .
    They’re not happy in Yemen .
    They’re not happy in Afghanistan .
    They’re not happy in Pakistan .
    They’re not happy in Syria .
    They’re not happy in Lebanon .

    So, where are they happy?

    They’re happy in Australia .
    They’re happy in England .
    They’re happy in France .
    They’re happy in Italy .
    They’re happy in Germany .
    They’re happy in Sweden .
    They’re happy in the USA .
    They’re happy in Norway .

    They’re happy in almost every country that is not Islamic!
    And whom do they blame?
    Not Islam…
    Not their leadership…
    Not themselves…

    THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN!
    And they want to change the countries they’re happy in, to be like the countries they came from, where they were unhappy.

    Try to find logic in that !

  12. #13 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 13 June 2014 - 12:12 pm

    bush :
    MUSLIMS ARE NOT HAPPY
    They´re not happy in Gaza .
    They’re not happy in Egypt .
    They’re not happy in Libya .
    They’re not happy in Morocco .
    They’re not happy in Iran .
    They’re not happy in Iraq .
    They’re not happy in Yemen .
    They’re not happy in Afghanistan .
    They’re not happy in Pakistan .
    They’re not happy in Syria .
    They’re not happy in Lebanon .
    So, where are they happy?
    They’re happy in Australia .
    They’re happy in England .
    They’re happy in France .
    They’re happy in Italy .
    They’re happy in Germany .
    They’re happy in Sweden .
    They’re happy in the USA .
    They’re happy in Norway .
    They’re happy in almost every country that is not Islamic!
    And whom do they blame?
    Not Islam…
    Not their leadership…
    Not themselves…
    THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN!
    And they want to change the countries they’re happy in, to be like the countries they came from, where they were unhappy.
    Try to find logic in that !

    There is a certain perverse logic in that. Muslims are not happy as you say. They are basically unhappy people. And they migrate to those western countries which they most detest. Those are happy countries. Therefore, the Muslims have to change the countries so that they are unhappy. They have to remake their adopted countries into the same unhappy places where they came from. Kind of make sense to me.

  13. #14 by good coolie on Friday, 13 June 2014 - 11:45 pm

    A man and woman contract a non-muslim marriage, and then they have children. The husband then becomes a Muslim and converts his children without the consent or knowledge of his wife. And believe it or not the courts say this is constitutional. Such a muslim convert can take away a child, by force, from the lawful custody of the woman, and the police will stand by and just watch this, all in the cause of “neutrality”. The courts stand up-side down to interpret the Constitution to come to the conclusion that the Muslim man can convert the child without the consent of the mother of the child! Meanwhile, Muslims decide what words Christians should use in their worship! Now what was once the snatching of the 3-B’s (babies, bodies and bibles) has become the snatching of 4-B’s with the addition of “brides”! There is no freedom of worship, a basic human right, for Malays.

    What do you think the white-man makes of all this?

  14. #15 by boh-liao on Saturday, 14 June 2014 - 5:01 am

    SURE or not, NO BS meh, “Christians at 9.2 per cent”
    Perkosa n other ultra Islamic grps kept warning us dat Christians gonna take over dis country what

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