Why are Muslims the Dregs of the World,  Mere Scum at the Bottom of the Barrel?

Why are Muslims the Dregs of the World,  Mere Scum at the Bottom of the Barrel?

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

  We all have read statistics on how backward Muslim countries are by various indices, but Farukh Saleem, a free-lance reporter from Pakistan, in his article, “What Went Wrong? [1], puts all the horrifying statistics together in one place.  Consider only a few of the most striking figures:

  The combined annual GDP of 57 Muslim countries remains under $2 trillion, ... Japan contributes $3.5 trillion and Germany $2.1 trillion. Even India’s GDP is estimated at over $3 trillion (purchasing power parity basis). ... Oil rich Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Kuwait, and Qatar collectively produce goods and services (mostly oil) worth $430 billion; Netherlands alone has a higher annual GDP, while Buddhist Thailand produces goods and services worth $429 billion.

  Even more worrying is that the Muslim countries’ GDP as a percent of the global GDP is going down over time.  According to the United Nations’ Arab Development Report: “Half of Arab women cannot read; one in five Arabs lives on less than $2 per day; only 1 percent of the Arab population has a personal computer, and only half of 1 percent use the Internet; ... [which is] worse than anywhere but sub-Saharan Africa.” ... At least six of the poorest of the poor countries have a Muslim majority population.

  Eight hundred million Muslims, or 60%, are illiterate, compared with only 20% in Christendom.  The fifty-seven Muslim majority countries have an average of only one college or institute of higher learning for every 2.3 million people, whereas India, with a similar population, has thirteen times that number. 

  From among 1.4 billion Muslims, Abdus Salam and Ahmed Zewail are the only two Muslim men who have won a Nobel Prize in physics and chemistry, and Dr Salam in his home country is not even considered to be a Muslim.  Over the past 105 years, 1.4 billion Muslims have produced eight Nobel Laureates while a mere 14 million Jews have produced 167. Muslims constitute 22 percent of the world population, but have only a 1 percent share of Nobel Prizes, whereas Jews constitute less than one quarter of one percent of world population with a 22 percent share of Nobel Prizes.

  Then consider equally morbid statistics on the concentration of wealth, the so-called wealth gap, as portrayed in greater detail in the article, Crane, Dr. Robert D., “Economic Justice: A Cure for Terrorism.”  [2]  The injustices have grown exponentially since this was published.  The defective fianancial institutions now functioning world-wide, which serve to maintain a monopoly of credit among the rich, are producing a ballooning wealth-gap even in America, where trickle-down economics is hiding the grossest of the injustices.  Consider that the financial wealth of the top one percent of U.S. households now exceeds the combined household financial wealth of the bottom 95 percent.  The share of the nation’s after-tax income received by the top one percent doubled from 1979-1997.  By 1998, the top-earning one percent had as much combined income as the 100 million Americans with the lowest earnings.  The average income of the richest fifth jumped from nine times the income of the poorest fifth to fifteen times.  The top fifth of U.S. households claims 49.2 percent of national income while the bottom fifth gets by on 3.6 percent. 

  Worldwide, the same concentration is growing and from a much lower base, which causes the miserable poverty that produces the terrorist mentality especially among members of the educated class who share the poverty not in their pocketbooks but vicariously in their righteous rage.

  Consider that eighty countries have per capita incomes lower than a decade ago.  Sixty countries have grown steadily poorer since 1980.  In 1960, the income gap between the fifth of the world’s people living in the richest countries and the fifth in the poorest countries was 30 to 1. By 1990, the gap had widened to 60 to 1.  By 1998, it had surged to 74 to one.
  Three billion people presently live on $2 or less per day, while 1.3 billion of those get by on $1 or less per day. With global population expanding 80 million each year, World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn, now succeeded by the Neo-Con guru Paul Wolfensohn, cautioned that, unless we address the “challenge of inclusion,” thirty years hence we may have 5 billion people living on $2 or less per day.

  Two billion people suffer from malnutrition, including 55 million in industrial countries.  In three decades, Neo-Con globalization could create a world where 3.7 billion people suffer from malnutrition.

  Who profits from this systemic injustice?  Consider that from 1995 to 1999 the world’s 200 wealthiest people doubled their net worth to $1,000 billion.  In the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, 61.7 percent of the stock market’s value is held by that nation’s fifteen richest families. The comparable figure for the Phillipines is 55.1 percent and 55.3 percent for Thailand.  In Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, where entire countries are owned by individual families and their favoreed concessionaires, the overall ownership figures of the countries’ wealth exceed 90%.  Based on present trends, over the next decade a mere handful of the world’s most well-to-do families may pocket more than 50 percent of the expected additional $90 trillion in financial wealth.

  Such injustices are curable, even without taking away from the already rich, simply by perfecting existing institutions so that the bias favors expanding rather than concentrating capital ownership.  The details with matching track records are presented in great detail by the Center for Economic and Social Justice and its related associations. [3]

  As the chairman of the Financial Markets Committee of President Reagan’s Presidential Task Force on Economic Justice twenty years ago, it became clear that these statistics, then already quite evident and very disturbing to President Reagan, are only the tip of the iceberg or the magnma rising into the volcano.  Merely cataloguing the results of defective institutions may expose threatening problems, but it does not address their underlying causes.

  This issue of cause and effect is particularly acute for those at the bottom of the barrel, the dregs or mere scum of humanity, which increasingly is being associated with Muslims.

  Bernard Lewis, perhaps the most eminent living student of Islamic civilization, teaches that for many hundreds of years there has been no such thing as an Islamic civilization because Islam is a failed religion.  The other major explanation is that Muslims are a failed community because they have abandoned Islam in favor of their own polytheistic pursuit of mere survival as the ultimate goal in the universe.  The iron law of history, obvious in the study of civilizational rise and fall, as well as in the lives of individual persons, is that the obsession with survival is the surest form of suicide.

  Of course, 19th-century European colonialism may carry 20% of the blame, and 20th-century American colonialism may account for another 30%, since both have always deliberately sought to impose and maintain corrupt, dictatorial governments, which, in turn, have effectively stamped out creative thought and even any hopes for change. 

  Blaming Western colonialism, however, may be a good excuse, but it does not offer a good explanatory reason for the statistics marshalled by Farrukh Saleem and by the above cited article linking poverty to terrorism.  The Islamic civilization collapsed seven hundred years ago, when survival became the primary concern of most Muslim leaders and when accordingly the inherently destabilizing search for knowledge was considered to be a threat. 

  Since the search and commitment to a higher mission than one’s own self-interest is the secret to civilizational flowering, and the lack of such a mission is the ultimate cause of its collapse, the explanation for the disintegration of what once could be called an Islamic civilization was the disappearance of any knowledge of or concern for transcendent law and its expression in universal human responsibilities and rights.  The universal principles (kulliyat) or purposes (maqasid) of Islamic jurisprudence disappeared totally, so that by the mid-20th century not a single scholar in the entire world viewed them as a framework for thought, and not more than half a dozen worldwide even referred to them in their writings.  Except among Shi’a scholars, the entire concept of normative justice, which is so central in the Qur’an, was deliberately stamped out. 

  The other major emphasis in divine revelation, namely, taqwa or loving awe of Allah, survived only underground in Sufi tariqat, because the politically correct mullahs were taught to keep Muslims in line by terrorizing and immobilizing them through a primitive fear of hell.

  Muslim intellectuals are concerned about how to revive the “original Islam” in the public square, i.e. through political action, and a few visionaries have even talked about funding think-tanks.  This approach has been pursued for some decades now by the leading national Muslim organizations in America, all of them products of the Muslim Brotherhood vision imported from Northern Africa and from Southwest and Southeast Asia.  The result has been neglible.  One reason, no doubt, has been their own lack of sophistication, which has led them to focus on trying to change existing policies after the fact rather than on cooperating with like-minded think-tanks in shaping the policy agenda, which always controls policies. 

  Even the related concept of developing Islamic wisdom in academia has been suggested, because think-tanks derive their agenda-shaping paradigms of thought largely from academics in American universities.  A sophisticated effort was made before 9/11 to found a Muslim university in America patterned after Oxford and Cambridge with funding of at least $100,000,000 to open the first Freshman class and ten times that amount to open the first of a dozen graduate schools.  President George W. Bush signed a letter welcoming the establishment of Crescent University on 1,200-acre of hills and forests north of New York City, with provision for acquisition of another square mile for research institutes, but funding suddenly disappeared after 9/11.  The concept may still be valid, as discussed in such articles as the four cited below in note [4].

  Real change, however, will not come from the top down in the Muslim community, any more than it does in any community.  The real revolutions in human history are known as Christianity, Islam, and America.  These all came from below, from what were considered to be the dregs of the then known world.  Real change in the pursuit of justice will come only from change in the hearts of millions and even billions of individual persons.  This is taught in every world religion, because this is the beginning of all wisdom.


[1]  http://www.independent-bangladesh.com/news/nov/13/13112005lt.htm 

[2] http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/2002feb_comments.php?id=162_0_6_0_C

[3] www.cesj.org/thirdway/comparison3rdway.htm
www.cesj.thirdway/paradigmpapers/csid-040528.htm  (The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy)
www.cesj.org/homestead/strategies/regional-global/katrinaplan050907.html, and www.americanrevolutionaryparty.us/partyplatform.htm, www.globaljusticemovement.org/mission_shared_vision.htm 

[4] “Crescent University, Part I,” Robert D. Crane,  http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/2002april_comments.php?id=97_0_4_0_C
“Crescent University II,” Robert D. Crane http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/2002june_comments.php?id=9_0_2_0_C Crescent University, “A Key to Shaping the Political Agenda: Part I, Peaceful Engagement Through Interfaith Action,“Crane, Robert D.,  http://theamericanmuslim.org/2002aug_comments.php?id=35_0_13_0_C  and
Part II The Role of Crescent University, Crane, Robert D. http://theamericanmuslim.org/2002aug_comments.php?id=36_0_13_0_C
“USA: A Moral Model for the World?”, Henzell-Thomas, Jeremy http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/2002jul_comments.php?id=60_0_11_0_C