Is the Arab World backward because of their Women?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 6th, 2011

Europe Pulls ahead of the Middle East in 1200 and never Looks Back

What’s the deal with the Islamic world?  While Western Civilization has reached staggering heights of prosperity and freedom, much of the Islamic world lives as they did during the Middle Ages (see Is Islam the Problem? by Nicholas Kristof posted 3/5/2011 on The New York Times).

A wise visitor from outer space who dropped in on Earth a millennium ago might have assumed that the Americas would eventually be colonized not by primitive Europeans but by the more advanced Arab civilization — and that as a result we Americans would all be speaking Arabic today.

Yet after about 1200, the Middle East took a long break: it stagnated economically, and today it is marked by high levels of illiteracy and autocracy. So as the region erupts in protests seeking democracy, a basic question arises: What took so long? And, a politically incorrect question: Could the reason for the Middle East’s backwardness be Islam?

That great city in Egypt founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria, held a treasure trove of old Greek texts.  When the Christian Crusaders crusaded into the region, they took some of these books back home with them.  As well as some Arab science and math.  It’s what made Europe dominant coming out of the Middle Ages.  At the time of the Crusades, the Arab world was more dominant than Europe.  More learned.  More advanced.  So it’s a good question.  What happened?  Why did the Europeans pass them by?

Yet one challenge is psychological. Many Arabs blame outsiders for their backwardness, and cope by rejecting modernity and the outside world. It’s a disgrace that an area that once produced outstanding science and culture (giving us words like algebra) now is an educational underachiever, especially for girls.

Perhaps there is a clue here.  Perhaps it’s the human capital of Western women.  It’s just a thought.  When you exclude women from anything reserved for men it basically cuts your human capital in half.  The greater your human capital, the greater your advancement.  If the split between men and women is 50-50, then the Western Civilization has been working with a 100% advantage in human capital.  Perhaps that is a factor.  I don’t know.  It’s just a thought.

The Great Cultural Divide: Bikinis or Veils

Little has changed in the Muslim world.  Education and custom is little changed from what it was back when the Arab world was dominant.  And those who try to change things are not received well by their brethren (see London imam subjected to death threats for supporting evolution by Rowenna Davis posted 3/6/2011 on the UK’s Guardian).

An imam of an east London mosque has been subject to death threats and intimidation for expressing his views on evolution and women’s right to refuse the veil…

A statement from the secretary of the mosque, Mohammad Sethi, that was leaked to extremist websites, said Hasan had been suspended after his lecture resulted in “considerable antagonism” from the community and for his “belief that Muslim women are allowed to uncover their hair in public”.

It is not uncommon to see magazines at the checkout lane in American sores with bikini-clad women on the covers.  You see them so often you don’t give them a second thought.  Compare that to the ferocious outrage directed against someone who said Muslim women should be able to show their hair in public.  That is quite a cultural divide.  And perhaps a reason for the men in the Arab world to hate the West.  Because we let these uppity women to do whatever they please.  Why, we even let them believe in evolution.

Harun Yahya, a popular Islamic creationist scholar from Turkey, begins a UK tour in London on Monday, adding to the debate. Last December Salir al-Sadlan, a senior Saudi-based scholar Salir al-Sadlan, said Muslims shouldn’t pray behind someone who believed in evolution in a speech at Green Lanes mosque in Birmingham.

Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, a group promoting Muslim engagement in British society, said there was “widespread ignorance” about evolution among the Muslim community. “Many traditional imams are grounded in ancient books in Arabic but have very little grounding in science. I find it staggering how they can be so strongly opposed to evolution without reading about it. That seems to be opposite of the very first commandment of the Qur’an, which is to read,” Bunglawala said.

It was interesting to hear the American left argue for that Muslim community center (that included a mosque inside of it) near Ground Zero.  They fought for and defended the Muslim religion.  Even though they attack Christianity tooth and nail over their ‘oppression’ of women and God-clinging rejection of evolution.  Incidentally, a lot of those bikini-clad women on the magazine covers in American stores?  A lot of them are Christians.  And why do Christian women do this in the West?  Pose half-naked?  Because they can.

The Left makes absolutely no logical sense to support a stringent religion (Islam) while attacking a less stringent one (Christianity).  Then again, a lot the Left does defies logical sense.  But I digress. 

Protestant Germany have an Islamic Past?

There’s a lot of Christian history in Germany.  Martin Luther was a German monk who started the Protestant Reformation.  That’s a pretty big movement in the Christian world.  And Germany was smack dab in the middle of the Christian world.  But others would beg to differ (see German Minister’s Comments on Islam Stir Debate by Judy Dempsey posted 3/6/2011 on The New York Times).

Germany’s new interior minister, appointed just last week, has already managed to upset politicians, church leaders and representatives of the Muslim community by saying that Islam is not a part of the German way of life.

“Islam in Germany is not something substantiated by history at any point,” the interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, said at his first news conference in his new job, adding that Islam did not play a major role in German culture…

Lamya Kaddor, chairwoman of the Liberal-Islamic Union in Germany, said that Mr. Friedrich’s remarks were a “slap in the face of Muslims.”

“Such statements are not only politically and historically wrong, I think they are dangerous,” Ms. Kaddor said. She added that Mr. Friedrich’s position would undermine progress between Muslims and Christians that previous interior ministers had encouraged.

I don’t know.  I think the German guy is kinda right here.  It was a Germanic people that conquered Rome and renamed it the Holy Roman Empire.  And the empire moved north.  It became German.  And it was Germanic kings that sent crusaders to the Holy Land.  To fight the Muslims.  To return the Holy Land to Christian rule.  That’s why Muslims hate Christians.  The European crusaders.  Western Civilization.  And Americans.  They say we’re all still crusading against Islam.  And that’s why Muslim immigrant communities don’t want to assimilate into their new countries.  Including Germany.

Germany has been grappling with how best to integrate its four million Muslims into the society at large. The government is pushing for the children of non-German-speaking parents to develop better German language skills.

But in a recent visit to Germany, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urged Turkish parents who are living in Germany to teach their children the Turkish language before German.

Mr. Erdogan told a crowd of more than 11,000 people in Düsseldorf that the Turks in Germany should not assimilate, but integrate.

“I say yes to integration,” Mr. Erdogan said. “You should definitely integrate with the German society, but we are against assimilation. No one should be able to rip us away from our culture and civilization. Our children must learn German, but first they must learn Turkish.”

I wonder how many Christian Germans are living in Muslim countries maintaining their culture and civilization.  Or is that a one way street?  I mean, if you want to retain your culture and civilization, why leave the country where your culture and civilization is?  And why expect another country to lose their culture and civilization by refusing to assimilate into your new adoptive country?  It doesn’t seem fair.  And appears that something else is at play here.  The expansion of Islamic fundamentalism?  Perhaps.

Americans Attacked in Germany

So, is there any radical Islamic fundamentalism happening in Germany?  Well, there’s this (see Jihad in Frankfurt posted on 3/7/2011 in The Wall Street Journal).

On Wednesday two American soldiers were shot dead on a military bus at Frankfurt Airport. Arid Uka, a 21-year-old Kosovo native, has confessed to the murders of Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, and Airman First Class Zachary Cuddeback, 21.

German officials say Uka approached the airmen boarding the bus, asked for a cigarette, and struck up a conversation. After one of the soldiers confirmed they were headed for Afghanistan, Uka followed them onto the bus, cried “Allahu akbar,” and began shooting.

Hmmm.  A young man from a predominantly Muslim country shouting ‘God is Great’ before killing two Americans on their way to Afghanistan where Islamic Fundamentalism is fighting to throw the Westerners out.  Why, one could say this young Muslim is simpatico with his Muslim brethren in Afghanistan.  So, yes, one could call this an act of radical Islamic Fundamentalism against Americans on German soil.

No Room for Oprah in the Middle East

I once worked with a guy that proudly told me he didn’t leave the house in the morning unless his wife put on his socks for him.  He was the boss in his house and she did what he told her to.  I sometimes get the feeling that this is what’s going on with radical Islam.  It’s all about the women.  They don’t like the freedom of women in the West.  For Islam is a male-dominated society.  And to maintain this culture and civilization, it is best to keep your country like it was in the old days.  Backwards.  For Muslim women watching Oprah may get ideas.  The wrong kind of ideas.  So it’s best not to have the modern conveniences of life that could bring Oprah into the Muslim living room.  For the sake of that male-dominated society. 

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