Benazir: Islam Must Reform or Die

In an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming posthumous Benazir Bhutto book “Reconciliation” Benazir Bhutto states why and how Islamic states must reform to survive in the modern world. It’s sensible, thought provoking, and well-written, another clear reason to mourn her death. Here’s a sample:

The combined GDP of the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is about the same as that of France, a single European country. More books are translated annually from other languages into Spanish than have been translated into Arabic over the past 100 years. The 15 million citizens of tiny Greece buy more books annually than do all Arabs put together.

The World Bank comparison of average incomes demonstrates a disquieting pattern. In the United States, the average per capita income is almost $38,000; in Israel it is almost $20,000. Pakistan, on the other hand, has an annual per capita income that barely crosses the $2000 mark.

No Muslim nation that is a non-oil producer has an annual per capita income near or above the world average. I find this pattern, these statistics, unacceptable.

The chain must be broken. One direct way to do that would be for the Gulf states to jump-start economic and intellectual development in the rest of the Islamic world.

Please stop by NZHerald to read the whole article, it’s well worth the time spent.