Muslims have only themselves to blame for their poverty, misery and violence

So says Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, speaking at an Islamic conference.

Do you agree with Mahathir Mohamad? if so, what should be done?

BTW coincidentally, I just received a circulating e-mail only 8 Nobel Prizes have been won by the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims:

Nobel Prize Winners:

1957 Albert Camus
1988 - Najib Mahfooz 1988.


1978 - Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
1994 - Yaser Arafat (yeah, I know)


1990 Elias James Corey
1999 - Ahmed Zewail


1960 Peter Brian Medawar
1998 Ferid Mourad

Gee, a Eurocentric prize committee has only taken note of Muslims eight times, and six of them are either European or world-famous for events familiar to Europeans.

While the OP seems more of the same old, this tangent is ridiculous from every perspective.

Most of the Muslim nations of the world were, until the middle of the 20th century, colonies of one imperial power or another. There wasn’t much capital investment or education because the colonial powers didn’t want educated, economically strong colonies. They wanted raw material and strong backs to get that raw material. So, of course, most of the Muslim countries missed the Industrial Revolution…so did most non-Muslim colonies. Now, they, like so many of the other former colonies in the world, are trying to build their nations, educate their people, and build economies not based on resource gathering. It’s not because they’re Muslim, though.

december; do you ever get enough? :rolleyes:

Yes, I happen to agree in as much as that I believe in free will and everyone’s capacity to rise above themselves. But no I happen to disagree since we are all born into different circumstances. Further I don’t understand what part of the Muslim world he means, to say that all things Muslim have failed is like saying all things Christian have not. It just doesn’t make sense. In any case the crisis in the Islamic world is far too complex to brush off in superficial terms like above. He might get away with it because it works in political discord, but is not a good foundation for enlightened debate.

I might throw out that this could maybe have been said for the same reason as this thread could arguably be said to exist… provocation.

I might add that the Nobel Prizes are awarded by several boards from two predominantly western protestant cultured nations. The Swedish Academy who award the literature prize are often enough criticized for a bias for not only Western, but European authors.


Two problems with this excuse:

  1. The Nobel Prize Committee’s alleged Eurocentrism didn’t stop lots of Japanese from winning prizes.

  2. tomndebb would be hard-pressed to come up with a long list of Muslim contributions to arts and sciences worthy of a Nobel Prize, which were overlooked because of “Eurocentralism.”

Well, truth, history, and reason aside, in answer to the OP, Muslims can blame anyone they want, just like the rest of us.

The blame really won’t change much, nor will the innocence of any victims of that response. The only thing that will change anything is dealing with the results of ignorance

BTW, in terms of Nobel prize winners, you missed Dr. Abdus Salam, 1979 winner in Physics. Also, isn’t Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, Muslim? He, and the UN won the Nobel for Peace in 2001

Well, I don’t know much about the sciences, but in terms of literature, there’s Salman Rushdie (who isn’t Muslim now, but was raised Muslim)

Mesa Selimovic’s “Death and the Dervish” was well received, and he was one of the bright lights of Yugoslav literature until his death in 83.

Ibrahim Jabra’s “The Ship” was considered a very good book by critics, and if he had written more, he probably would have gotten the nobel.

That’s how I see it. Mahathir Mohamad’s statement is a way of saying that Muslims hold the key to advancement of their culture in their own hands. Apparently Malaysia is taking steps to move into the 21st century. Hopefully Mohamad’s words will encourage other Muslim states to do likewise.

Unfortunately, if Muslim states become more technologically advanced, their ability to wreak harm on Israel will be that much greater…

Yes * december/I] it is all the violent lying sandniggers own fault. Do you feel are warm and cuddly inside? Frankly I’m getting sick of this baiting of yours, I begin to find it a bit disgusting. Matathir had some good points, you managed to display why so many Muslims tend to circle the wagons and hunker down, rather than engaging in critical debate.

As to the issue of Nobel Peace prizes, well what kind of ethnic head-counting are we getting into here and what do you mean to imply by it? Are we going to play the bigot game of evaluating ethnicities and cultures worth by the contributions of a few individuals as recognized in the past 20-50 years, only? We can also note that few blacks have won Nobel prizes. What conclusions do you wish to draw from such race-baiting? Perhaps you might want to reflect on your “argumentation,” for it really has come right up to the edges of offensive now.

I suppose it would be a challenge for your questionable skills in critical thinking to reflect on the issues of opportunity involved here, which is opportunity to be know (Nobels are somewhat of a beauty contest), opportunity to do recognized work (e.g. little Muslim Arab –hell Arab writing generally – is translated, resources to do the Science work etc. Japanese obviously, as one of the world’s biggest economies, face different opportunities than say Ahmed Zewail’s colleagues working in 2nd rate labs in 2nd rate economies.

By the way your list seems to have little to no accuracy in it. Albert Camus was not a Muslim, he was French. The Corey person doesn’t have a Muslim name, hard to say there. Zewail is Egyptian and Muslim, so there we go. Peter Brian Medawar sounds like a Xtian Arab name to me. Not sure about Ferid Mourad. Whoever compiled this list was an idiot, and we can hardly rely on it one way or another.

(PS: No, I don’t believe Kofi is a Muslim, but to be frank I don’t know what his religion is.)

I had a post with evidence, including quotes, but the board ate it. If anyone wants the quotes, let me know, but basically, Corey is a Christian of Lebanese descent, Medewar was also of Lebanese descent and an atheist as an adult, but I don’t know his religious background, and Mourad has a Muslim father, a Baptist mother, Catholic brothers, is an Episcopalian, has a daughter who married a Methodist and another who married a Jew.

And Camus was born in Algeria.

He was born in Algeria, but to French Catholic parents, Algeria being a colony of France at the time.

I would like to rescue the thread from december’s maladroit phrasing and argumentation.

Now, noting that Mahathir is arguing for a renaissance in the future (his use of the term fate in my reading in the context of Islamic usage and Mahathir’s own ideology as I understand it is forward looking) there is a real problem to be addressed.

Obscurantism in the Islamic world. It is real, it is a problem. The ‘clergy’ – which is to say the ‘docteurs of fiqh’ – theology-- have been promoting a rather dead vision of Islam for quite a long time. I believe Muslim Guy has touched on this in the past. Further, the Saudis have officialy and privately funded the spread of their particularly deadening approach to Islam.

Now, the question may be then, might the Western world be capable of helping in any way shape or form promote a critical and reasoned revival (abstracting away from the problems of economic resources).

This rather touches on the Dutch threads as well.

An issue I’ve noted is that the diaspora communities are usually far more liberal than the Imams and Sheikhs who serve in the mosques, far, far more liberal This leads to one of two effects: (a) alienation from the religion or (b) alienation from the host society (again abstracting away from economic effects in re the immigrants.).

France has recently tried to promote Muslim learning in France under more liberal auspices, in the French statist tradition of course.

The question may be, can countries like Netherlands promote more liberal learning, in a manner which will not seem invasive or condescending.

Have you ever been to Malaysia? Do you know what kind of a city Kuala Lumpur is? Malacca? Johor Bahru?

Have you ever set foot outside your own front door?

Actually I’ve traveled pretty widely, although not to Malaysia. I was basing my optimism on the Prime Minister’s statement.

Also, my company opened an Asian office several years ago. Based on reports I read at that time, Kuala Lumpur was under serious consideration as the location. Cow-orkers who had been there considered it a reasonable Asian base with a promising economy.

december, I suspect that jjimm’s point is that Malaysia has already entered the 21st century, nothwithstanding your rather condescending “moving into” remark.

Yes, I see what you mean.




You’ve really outdone yourself here. Not being able to find a suitable op-ed piece, you are now citing “e-mail lore” as authority.

This is one of the most chuckle-headed attempts at an OP I’ve seen in quite some time. It wraps a fairly interesting observation in the intellectual equivalent of a dog turd and flings it at the audience.

First, it would come as a great shock to Camus that he was a Muslim, what having been an atheist and all. It is painfully obvious that the OP and the author of the e-mail are mindlessly parroting a flawed observaton on a topic they know nothing about.

Second, the entire premise is both pointless and ridiculous. I have no idea as to what religion the vast majority of Nobel prize winners subscribe. Not having read any of Mahfooz, I have no clue as to whether he’s a devout Muslim or not. Nor does the OP. While he is Egyptian, it’s entirely possible that he is not. Fortunately, what religion someone espouses has nothing to do with winning a Nobel prize.

What might well have something to do with winning a Nobel prize is what country you live in, especially in the sciences. As most Muslims live in poorer countries, they generally have less of an opportunity to do research in, say, high-energy physics.

Therein lies the basic problem with the OP. It tries to elide being “Muslim” which is a religion with being of Arab descent. Pick out all the Nobel prize winners with vaguely Arabic names and they must all be Muslims, right? Wrong. Embarassingly and pathetically wrong. The problem is, of course, compounded by the OP’s failure to recognize that even people with vaguely Arabic last names may be neither Arab nor Muslim. Peter Medawar was British, for God’s sake!

Mahathir’s point about the tendency in Islamic thought to reject science is interesting. The general point has been discussed in GD before. It would be even more interesting is to hear how his audience reacted.