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Type: News

Iran (Islamic Republic of)
News Date: 

Women who are not properly veiled: an outrage, a provocation. Dousing women with acid for being not properly veiled: pleasing to Allah. “Alarming rates of acid attacks in Iran back on the rise,” Al Arabiya, March 20, 2017:

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Type: Opinion

  • Recently, Chinese, Japanese and other educators have found that rote learning and endless drills produce high achievers without creativity, originality, or the ability to think for themselves. Western academic standards of rationality and objectivity have been behind most of the West's achievements.

  • "The campus has three mosques with a fourth one planned, but no bookstore. No Pakistani university, including QAU, allowed Abdus Salam to set foot on its campus, although he had received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his role in formulating the standard model of particle physics." — Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, commenting on Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan, the second-best university among the 57 Muslim states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

  • The very thought that "Islamic science" has to be different from "Western science" suggests the need for a radically different way of thinking. Scientific method is scientific method and rationality is rationality, regardless of the religion practiced by individual scientists


For all that, we are all aware that different nations, different cultures and different religions achieve varied and even conflicting levels of intellectual achievement. The Western democracies, including Israel, have for some time now been the highest achievers in fields such as science, technology, medicine, information technology, astronomy and the exploration of space, as well as in modern academic disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, critical history, economics, analytical politics, statistics, and unbiased religious studies, among others. Western academic standards of rationality and objectivity have been behind most of those achievements. Sadly, many scholars in Western countries, not least the US, have abandoned even a semblance of neutrality on and off campus, following a deep politicization of many humanities subjects, above all the Middle East and related studies.

What follows has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. It is a discussion of why some cultures (in several forms) appear to have remained in high levels of ignorance and underachievement, and those cultures sometimes appear to include the culture of the religion of Islam, regardless of where it is practiced. Muslims belong to just about every ethnic group in the world, so it will be clear that concerns about their religion and culture (or cultures) are totally apart from race. Rather, they seem to stem from a widespread lack of literacy, opportunities for education and exposure to questioning, as well as to a wide range of ideas. Of course, if one is convinced that questioning might cause one to burn in hell forever, that could also be an impediment.


A study by academics at the International Islamic University Malaysia showed that OIC countries have 8.5 scientists, engineers, and technicians per 1000 population, compared with a world average of 40.7, and 139.3 for countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Forty-six Muslim countries contributed 1.17% of the world's science literature, whereas 1.66% came from India alone and 1.48% from Spain. Twenty Arab countries contributed 0.55%, compared with 0.89% by Israel alone. The US NSF [National Science Foundation] records that of the 28 lowest producers of scientific articles in 2003, half belong to the OIC.

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