A Muslim economist is attempting to measure how well the world’s countries live by Quranic values.
By Erin Cook
“We are one,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in the wake of the March mass shooting that left 60 worshippers in two Christchurch mosques dead and turned the small Pacific island nation into the center of the Islamic world’s attention.
New Zealanders came together, regardless of color or creed, to mourn and to help the grieving Muslim community recover. Social integration and empathy are sacred in Islam. New Zealand’s population is only 1 percent Muslim, but …
ACCORDING TO A NEW ANALYSIS, NEW ZEALAND IS THE COUNTRY THAT MOST CLOSELY FOLLOWS QURANIC PRINCIPLES.
The Islamicity Indices, compiled by the Islamicity Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit, measure world governments by how well they adhere to the Islamic principles set forth in the Quran, including adherence to interest-free finance, equality of education, property rights and animal rights, among others. They don’t include the personal duties required of Muslims, like prayer, fasting and pilgrimages.
In the most recent survey, the highest-ranking country with a Muslim majority is the United Arab Emirates at No. 45. (The U.S. ranks at No. 23.) The lowest-ranked country is Yemen, where Islam is the state religion. New Zealand has no official religion and nearly half of the country’s 5 million people identify as Christian, but it scored high in several areas tracked by the index, including anti-corruption laws and provisions to alleviate poverty.
The index is the brainchild of Hossein Askari. An economist by trade, Askari was born in Iran and educated in the U.K. and the U.S., where he built a career researching Islamic finance. He launched the index with a controversial motivation. “Soon after the death of the prophet, Islam was hijacked by clerics and rulers acting in their own interest,” he says. “Islam contributed a lot in the early days, but if you look around today you have to question something about the interpretation.”
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