With a tip of the hat to Thomas Friedman who wrote about "empty pockets, angry minds" as an explanation about why Muslims are reacting so violently to every perceived insult by the West.
Mr. Friedman wrote:
It goes back to the notion that if you have the "truth" you need look no further for knowledge.
Nearly 60 percent of the Arab world is under the age of 25. With limited job growth to absorb them, the ILO estimates, the region is spinning out about 500,000 more unemployed people each year. At a time when India and China are focused on getting their children to be more scientific, innovative thinkers, educational standards in much of the Muslim world -- particularly when it comes to science and critical inquiry -- are not keeping pace.
Pervez Hoodbhoy, a professor of nuclear physics at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan, bluntly wrote the following in Global Agenda 2006, the journal of the recent Davos World Economic Forum:
"Pakistan's public (and all but a handful of private) universities are intellectual rubble, their degrees of little consequence. According to the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology, Pakistanis have succeeded in registering only eight patents internationally in 57 years.
"[Today] you seldom encounter a Muslim name in scientific journals. Muslim contributions to pure and applied science -- measured in terms of discoveries, publications, patents and processes -- are marginal. The harsh truth is that science and Islam parted ways many centuries ago. In a nutshell, the Muslim experience consists of a golden age of science from the ninth to the 14th centuries, subsequent collapse, modest rebirth in the 19th century, and a profound reversal from science and modernity, beginning in the last decades of the 20th century. This reversal appears, if anything, to be gaining speed."No wonder so many young people in this part of the world are unprepared, and therefore easily enraged, as they encounter modernity. And no wonder backward religious leaders and dictators in places like Syria and Iran -- who have miserably failed their youth -- are so quick to turn their young people's anger against an insulting cartoon and away from themselves and the rot they have wrought.
We will have a holy war to show the world that our belief is right. We will become the opposite of what our belief professes to show that we are right. Our religion says do this and we do the opposite and justify our actions with the notion that it is for the "greater good".
Sunday, October 24, 2004