By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, The Telegraph
Ireland best embodies the Islamic values of opportunity and justice, according to a survey by a leading US academic
The Quran’s teachings are better represented in Western societies than in Islamic countries, which have failed to embrace the values of their own faith in politics, business, law and society, a leading academic at George Washington University has said.
A study of 208 countries and territories has found that the top countries in both economic achievement and social values are Ireland, Demark, Luxembourg and New Zealand. Britain also ranks in the top ten.
The first Muslim-majority nation is Malaysia ranking at 33, while the only other state in the top 50 is Kuwait at 48.
Hossein Askari, an Iranian-born professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University, said Muslim countries used religion as an instrument of state control. He said: “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.
“Looking at an index of Economic Islamicity, or how closely the policies and achievements of countries reflect Islamic economic teachings – Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Norway, and Belgium round up the first 10”.
“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.
An Overall Islamicity Index analysing social rules and human rights measures found that similar rankings were generated in 2010.
“New Zealand, Luxembourg, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands; and again only Malaysia (38) and Kuwait (48) make it into the top 50 from Muslim countries,” he said. “Islam is, and has been for centuries, the articulation of the universal love of Allah for his creation and for its unity, and all that this implies for all-encompassing human and economic development.”