Indonesia

On thinking that Muslims are ignorant and contribute little to science

Maybe it will sounds so hateful but as a Muslim I think most of the Muslims are ignorant and uneducated,our religion is about love and kindness but most of the Muslims are so hateful,they treats womens bad,they treat animals badly,they have no respect for others,they are judging Christians Jews and Gays,but they don't do anything for love and kindness,they think heaven is only for Muslims,they don't do anything for science and art,do you think Allah proud of this?

In 2017 Iran produced more scientific research (if we count published scientific papers) than Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, Belgium or Denmark. Indonesia’s scientific output went from 1262 papers in 2007 to 18683 papers in 2017. Your ideas about Muslims not contributing to science are rather outdated. In the century starting with 2100 Muslims could easily be producing over half of all the science produced in the world if we judge by present trends.

Rather than comparing Muslims to some imaginary ideal, compare Muslims to how they would be if they were not Muslims. Of course Muslims have their problems, but if you compare them to non-Muslims of the same country, you will see that they are actually similar to or better than the non-Muslims. Egypt’s Coptic Christians are in no way nicer, kinder or more pluralistic than Egypt’s Muslims. India’s Hindus are no better than its Muslims. Turkey’s secularists are no better than Turkey’s devout Muslims.

The problem is not with Islam but with their local cultures. Culture takes time to change and things have greatly improved over the past 100 years. Indonesia went from having 6500 university students in 1950 to having 4.2 million university students in 2009. This is going to lead to tremendous cultural change over time.

There are over 100,000 British converts to Islam in Britain. Do you think that by becoming Muslim they magically start to treat animals and women badly and become less kind toward others? If you have met many converts to Islam in the West (like I have) then you will know that they continue to remain authentically European/Western. They continue to care about the things they cared about before Islam (things like animal rights) while becoming much better people due to their increased spirituality and their decreased worldliness.

When it comes to good non-Muslims, they become even better with Islam.

As for Muslims thinking that only Muslims go to Paradise, there are tons of Jews and Christians who think the same of their own religion. And there are many Muslims who believe that the good and faithful people from other religions will also go to Paradise.

On Muslim hypocrisy in not defending other persecuted peoples

Salam Aleikoum. I wonder how we Muslims are against that quraysh was persecuting muslims at that time and all the suffering they had to go through,but many muslims today are doing the same. they are OK with the fact that shias/ismailis /sufis are persecuted in many muslim countries. Isn't that hypocrisy?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The fact is that Muslims are humans who act like other humans. Few among them live up to Islam’s high spiritual ideals. The Quran tells us that Prophet Ibrahim tried to save the people of Lot despite knowing them to be great sinners, but if you look at Muslims today you will see that many of them lack the spiritual maturity to see the tragedy in the destruction of a sinful people and may even celebrate it.

We should not blame the failure of Muslims on Islam, but on their human nature. Look at any Muslim population and you will be able to see various negatives. But take away Islam from them and they will become worse, not better. Islam’s critics blame Islam for the problems of the Middle East but are generally completely blind to the fact that Christian Latin America is doing much worse than the Middle East when it comes to many things (homicide rates and scientific research output are two examples).

We can criticize the intolerance of India’s rural Muslims, but compare them to India’s rural Hindus and you will find that the Muslims are doing much better when it comes to many things.

If we compare most Muslim countries to Western Europe, then the Muslim countries will look worse, because they have yet to catch up to the same level. But if we do a fair comparison, comparing the Muslims of any country with its non-Muslims, we see that the Muslims are actually better, not worse. Swedish converts to Islam are just as nice, kind and open-minded as Swedish Christians and agnostics. Egyptian Muslims are in no way inferior to Egyptian Christians. Honor killings, which people like to blame Islam for, are common in India among the Hindus and Christians. Whatever problems Muslims have are better explained by the state of their society rather than their religion, and if we look at the non-Muslims around them, we see them suffer from the exact same problems and often worse ones. A Muslim migrant in Sweden will often be worse than the native population when it comes to many things, and the West’s many amateur sociologists will blame that on Islam and ignore the fact that a non-Muslim migrant from the same country will have exactly the same problems and probably worse ones.

It takes a great deal of education for people to start to have empathy for outsiders. Westerners only started to see non-Westerners as proper humans about two hundred years ago, Muslim societies are developing in the same (good) direction, but change takes time and should be measured in generations, not months or years. The Muslim world is changing very fast. We can look at the example of Indonesia:

In 1950 there were 10 institutions of higher learning with a total of about 6,500 students. In 1970, 450 private and state institutions enrolled about 237,000 students. By 1990 there were 900 institutions with about 141,000 teachers and nearly 1.5 million students. By 2009 there were 2,975 institutions of higher education and more than 4.2 million students. (From Wikipedia)

The Islamic world is entering a phase that has never been seen before, and that is going to change everything. For all of Islam’s history until recently, the number of people who could read and write was often around 1-2% of the population. Today the literacy rate is approaching 100% in most Muslim countries, while the number of people attending university has doubled in most of these countries in the past 30 years. As people become more educated, we can expect them to become more open-minded and to develop better empathy for people who differ from them and to stand up for their rights.