MYRIAD problems afflicting Muslims today are of our own making. The combined GDP of a billion plus Muslims living in some 56 sovereign Muslim states is less than that of Japan. Barring a few countries like Malaysia and Turkey, most Muslim states are underdeveloped.

Pakistan has seven million children who do not go to schools, including 2.3 million between the ages of five to nine. Not a single university in the whole Islamic world remotely approaches the stature of European or American universities.

We need to break out of this. To start with, the moribund OIC needs to be revived for the purpose to integrate vast resources of the Muslim world and bring about intellectual, economic and political renaissance in it. The focus of reforms and measures in the OIC should be on intellectual revivalism of all Muslims through a network of world-class universities with state-of-the-art facilities established all over the Muslim world under the umbrella of the OIC.

A central Islamic bank should finance all such projects. What is needed is a revolution in the national mindset to get rid of the hundreds of years old cobwebs that clutter it up.

The economic integration of Muslim states through a network of interconnected rail and road links, liberalised trade with minimal trade barriers among Muslim states and common tariff, free movement of businessmen and entrepreneurs, a central Islamic bank to finance development projects and bailout packages, to name but a few, is needed.

Muslim leaders should agree on certain basic principles representing ‘common’ foreign policy of the OIC. For example, they can agree not to support attack on any member-state by a foreign aggressor or not to allow stationing of foreign forces on their lands without unanimous decision of the OIC, common stance on political issues like Palestine, Kashmir and so on.

We can also have a common international media channel as an official ‘mouthpiece’ of the OIC.

Muslim leaders on the platform of the OIC need to address a million-dollar question: how to negotiate an exit strategy for the US and its allies stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan?

They also need to watch out for the meddlesome role of foreign powers in the Arab Spring, and perform their due role to ensure that stable regimes are soon in place in all ‘destabilised’ countries.


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Comments (49)

December 5, 2012 3:51 pm
"Muslims through a network of world-class universities with state-of-the-art facilities established all over the Muslim world under the umbrella of the OIC." That you have Quran which has all the knowledge that there is to know, why do you need 'modern universities'? " A central Islamic bank should finance all such projects." You had BCCI which is really an Islamic bank but then they robbed everyone and their uncles. "For example, they can agree not to support attack on any member-state by a foreign aggressor or not to allow stationing of foreign forces on their lands" Is it OK, if muslim countries attack each other like it happened between Iraq and Iran? Who will protect/protest when Sunnies kill Shias or Ahmedias like it is happening in your courntry? Best thing is not to bring religion into every discussion and consider people as people rather than Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Then all your problems will be solved
December 5, 2012 8:45 am
In Singapore all employees contribute to different funds based on their religion / community. These are Chinese Development Assistance Council Fund Singapore Indian Development Association Fund Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund The stated aim of Chinese & Indian associations is to develop their communities using these funds. But for the association of Muslims, their first priority is Mosque building. In fact it was initially only " Mosque Building Fund " and Mendaki was added only later which means development.. This attitude of Muslims of emphasising more on their religion rather than development has to change...Then only Muslim world will improve.
December 5, 2012 3:10 pm
can you name me a country in the world without corruption?
December 5, 2012 2:58 pm
I agree. The only thing of consequence is what we do, not what we talk.
December 5, 2012 3:07 pm
I would suggest you read a little European history. Europeans are not remotely united, yours is a view made that is typically from gossip in the Muslim world with no understanding of why Europe is where it is today. When you read the history you will thus understand why your islamic solution for Pakistan cannot possibly work. Those are unwilling or unable to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
Agha Ata
December 5, 2012 1:50 pm
Islamic countries always produce brilliant politicians, engineers, scientists, professors, but only individuals. The condition of masses, their health, education, agriculture, commerce, sanitation of cities remain very very poor. But the individuals have a status, worth praising. That is the condition prevailing among Muslims for more than thousand years in 56 countries. They advance only in destructive aspect of life, like fighting, they can make atom bombs, but can?t have a good university. They can make missiles, but can't have good hospitals. They are always ready to argue with the biggest nations or organizations of the world about the rights of Muslims, but they never think of International peace. They want to be considered the best, strongest, people on the planet but they miserably failed to take care of their own masses. They try to create their importance by going against the established rules. They want to be exception, and yes they are an exception in many ways.
December 5, 2012 6:51 am
I don't think it is possible. Muslim leadership is uneducated or half educated. True knowledge is light years away. Shortsightedness prevails. Anyway writer of this piece has raised crucial issues confronting Muslim world today.
December 5, 2012 6:43 am
As long as religion is placed above everything, there is no hope for this.
December 5, 2012 7:23 am
Yes we need to break out of this. But first we need to do a lot of our own housekeeping and remove completely the hatred taught to our children at schools and which then becomes engrained and is manifested as second nature amongst educated people too. Look at the recent desecration of graves in Lahore. If this dastardly act was done by uneducated people, then why for that matter is the Governor of Punjab quiet on the subject and why the learned Maulvisand some media TV channels have not condemned the wrong doers.
December 5, 2012 7:22 am
Then why Turkey is on the top?
December 5, 2012 9:01 am
What is Turkey "on the top" of? It is on the top of Muslim nations -- not on the top of any other nations. How does that negate "jen" argument that religion's control of the state's institutions may have something to do with the ills of the Muslim world.
December 5, 2012 11:49 am
has nothing to do with Islam. Iran is developed too. Much better than pakistan for sure. But the west is developed beacuse it is united. Europe and america supportt each other. They also pillage the rest of the world and bring in alot of money from oil and other minels from aroudn the globe. theyre corporations are leaching pakistan. Pakistan needs to man up. Take care of its own.
Gerry D'Cunha
December 5, 2012 12:23 pm
unless the muslim world does not have true democracy in their country,which mean ruled by honest people by vote like the west, the muslim world's condition will remain the the moment most of the rich oil countries are govern by family members, while the people are suppressed and poor.
December 5, 2012 6:41 am
Those communities having sense of realization and accept facts achieve their objectives. Unfortunately Muslim community has no objective, do not use senses, try to runaway from truth. Divided in sects, having special AQEEDA, enjoying with processions and ceremonies.
December 5, 2012 8:12 am
Japan who has the GDP more then all Muslims countries... does it try to recognize the Messiah of the time? Come out of your dream world and work to get results.
December 5, 2012 6:12 am
It needs a progressive mind and thoughts to do all this....
December 5, 2012 11:50 am
Actully Erdogan and the AKP islamic party is who led the decomcratic and economic book of turkey.
Iqbal khan
December 5, 2012 8:06 am
Who cares about university We have the tallest building in the world and soon we will have the biggest mall in the world too.
December 5, 2012 9:00 am
The credit goes to Kemal Ataturk, who kept Mullahs in check and put secular Turkish Army in charge of administration in the country.
December 5, 2012 8:01 am
Try uniting the muslims in Pakistan first and you would have achieved a nobel prize equivalent.
December 5, 2012 11:43 am
what about places like mali or algeria or morroco that have never had any islamic government. Your subervient "PRAISE ANYTHING WESTERN" attidude is what has held us back.
December 5, 2012 12:38 pm
Too much religion, too much talk, too much theory Too less humanity, too less work too less practical approach
December 5, 2012 11:47 am
he system is corrupt. politicans are corrupt. the army is corrupt. and there is an inferiority complex amost the muslim and pakistanis when it comes to america or europe. Grow up. Religion told you to get knowledge learn and be educated. Create universitys adn schools. stop giving away resources to multinational corporations. Organize. but then whos gonna live in defense in villas with mercedes and go to partys. living off the money of the nation
khan bahadur
December 5, 2012 4:40 am
Good letter.... but you missed why the muslims today are in this condition.... as exactly portrayed by Prophet Muhammad (SAW - PBUH)... All muslims - try to recognize the Messiah of the time and all will be good..... otherwise keep trying all this in vain....
Pavas Ambashta
December 5, 2012 1:37 pm
But you couldnt even build that building!! For that you had to call western engineers and architect..
December 5, 2012 10:36 am
There is no "Muslim world", just one world. Stop worrying about interlinking Muslim world with roads. Worry about our own country instead.
December 5, 2012 4:07 pm
Why not they all embrace some good religion
December 5, 2012 5:19 pm
Completely incorrect. Erdogan is a recent leader. Turkey has seen its fortune rise post WW 2. Not a dramatic rise like Japan or China but a consistent rise. AKP was in the background while that was happening.
December 5, 2012 5:26 pm
Dear sir. I have been to Turkey. Turkey is neither developed nor on the top. Turkey is an undeveloped country. Turkey has failed to produce any noble price winner in either Physics, Chemestry, or Medicine. I know of no Turkish product that has been able to capture the world. No Turkish university is ranked high in Research & Development.
December 5, 2012 5:48 pm
But we will built that mall.Your mall will use hardware and software made by us , even our professionals will run your mall.
December 5, 2012 5:58 pm
Yes, It's on top of Islamic nations , but why ? Have you ever been to Turkey ?You can find ladies smoking on streets , they have freedom there . Their culture is European culture, not Arabian culture .During Roza , food court and liquor shops get filled with foreigners.No rampage for a silly movie in Turkey.They are proud for their language and culture and doesn't give a penny to Saudi Arabian culture , though they have religious similarity.Their showpiece mosque in Istanbul is not a mosque ,which shows maturity of politicians .Religion is water scar for them.
December 5, 2012 6:17 pm
Two things can change the Muslim world: 1) People willing to take responsibility for society's problems. 2) People empowered to do their job. In absence of (2) and presence of (1), there is widespread corruption. Muslim world can't change by blaming India, US, Israel, Jews or any one else. Muslim can only change when empowered people take responsibility.
December 5, 2012 7:18 pm
Because turkey is secular ,,,
December 5, 2012 8:05 pm
Intellectual, economic and political renaissance is impossible when the human brains and minds are stifled in the name of religion and an entity which may or may not exist. Nothing worthwhile can ever be accomplished where minds are not free.
December 5, 2012 8:17 pm
This obsession of muslim this, muslim that will get muslims nowhere but what Pakistan and Afganistan is now. But some people never learn and others are not allowed to learn.
December 5, 2012 8:20 pm
Ever heard of one eyed king in the land of blinds.
December 5, 2012 8:48 pm
Muslims are divided into Shia and Sunni groups. All other sects, are barely tolerated. So to talk of 'Muslim world' is fiction from the start. Than they are further divided, into the 'real Muslims' such as the Arabs, and then come the lowly converts from countries like Pakistan, Sudan etc.
December 5, 2012 9:34 pm
Prosperity and growth comes to those who are open minded, encourage diverse thought and action, and practice democracy. Unless and until OIC move away from navel-gazing, caliphate paradigm and encourage education, freedom of expression and tolerance toward others' religions, I do not see much hope. That means OIC has to shed its victimhood complex and engage with the rest of the world in an affirmative fashion.
iqbal Khan
December 5, 2012 9:42 pm
By the way I forget to mention that we are also building a new Taj Mahal 4 times bigger than the original one, yet another reason for us to be proud of ?
John F
December 5, 2012 10:20 pm
I fully agree. Pakistan needs more Mosques, more madarassas, more religion. If Pakistan has strict sharia, the country will progress. There should be a special fund (like in Malaysia) for making more Mosques. Problems in Pakistan have emerged because people are not strictly adhering to the noble principles of Islam.
December 6, 2012 2:24 am
The problem with Muslims is they always talk of Muslim Ummah, Muslim World & Ottoman Empire. These are utopian ideas which cannot be implemented in practice. Christians, a much more tolerant and secular people, are not bound in one nation. Europe, which is largely Christian, have not formed European Union on the basis of religion, but with the aim of economic integration. Only if Muslim countries think of economic integration also with their immediate neighbouring non-islamic countries, there will be prosperity. It will not be economical if you shun immediate neighbours and sought to increase economic links with distant Muslim nations
December 6, 2012 2:46 am
Do you think "the so called democratic countries" like India and USA are free of corruption and any wrong doing? Certainly the democracy is good but not the ultimate answer. .
December 6, 2012 2:52 am
Too much sympathy for fellow jihadists in the name of supporting the "ummah" aka too little humanity and rationality, and much too much religion
December 6, 2012 3:23 am
Yes, for sure Erdogan is secular.
December 6, 2012 3:29 am
"Japan who has the GDP more then all Muslim countries"... ? Where do you get the facts and figures from? Go at least Google the facts and compare Japan to some of the Middle Eastern countries, I guess they are Muslim.
December 6, 2012 1:59 pm
Still they are far better than Muslim world.
December 6, 2012 3:14 pm
do you have the ultimate answer ? no you do not, right, so why not try the good answer/option...
December 6, 2012 3:17 pm
lol, morever, i believe very soon the new one will be referred as one of the WONDERS OF WORLD :) good for you mate.
December 6, 2012 6:16 pm
Japan is one of top five economies in the world. Why compare apples and oranges
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