Islamicity index: 32 non-Muslim countries ahead of Malaysia

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Zan Azlee, Astro Awani

Malaysia shouldn’t be proud to be listed in the top 50 most truly Islamic countries in the world under a recent study by Professor Hossein Askari of George Washington University.

In his Islamicity index, Malaysia is the highest ranked Islamic country at number 33. The next Islamic country that comes after Malaysia is Kuwait at number 42.

The top ten countries are all so-called ‘Christian’ countries; Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Norway and Belgium.

The index looks at factors such as laws and governance, human and political rights, international relations, and economics. In fact, Israel is higher than Malaysia at number 27.

Now, isn’t that assuring?

This makes one wonder if the practices that we hold to in Malaysia are true to the actual teachings of Islam. But then again, is it really a wonder?

We argue over who can use words of different languages that refer to god. We jump at the slightest notion of such insignificant issues like pork DNA in chocolates.

We go ballistic and bonkers when houses of worship for other religions other than Islam start getting too prominent in the country’s skyline.

We are still struggling to find out how to live in harmony as a multi-racial and multi-religious society and the Malaysian-Muslims feel threatened at every single thing.

We still have people going around the nation with archaic weapons trying to kill dogs because they think it is an impure animal.

We are so aggressive at showing our Muslim-ness that we need to state it in our national identity cards and even the way we choose the names of our children.

We have religious authorities that are so gung-ho feeling they have the power to declare anyone as Muslim, irregardless of whether that person actually believes in the faith or not.

We are a society that cannot even indulge in intellectual discourse and debate when it comes to religion because of the mentality that if you question, then you are against it.

We are a society that treats people of other religions and race as second class citizens that take back seats to the rest.

I guess we can be positive and look at the glass as half full and choose to be proud that Malaysia, ranked at 33, is the leader amongst all the other Muslim countries in the index.

Or should we look at the glass as half empty and notice that there are 32 countries that aren’t Islamic countries (and one Jew!) that are better at being Islamic than Malaysia?

And it doesn’t mean that by looking at the glass as half empty, we are just being pessimistic. We need to choose to take action on what it is we’re lacking.

Of course, there will be many who will see this as Western propaganda aimed at destabilising and deharmonising the Muslim world. To them, our actions in this society are justified.

If that is the case, I guess I lose in this argument then.