I read a lot and I cover a lot of topics. But very rarely one can read such an excellent and visionary piece about future of Islam. In today’s FT there is an article by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (or as it happens in practice, probably co-written by his advisors) Malaysia Prime Minister.

A quote:

“In spite of this, it cannot be denied that large parts of the Muslim world are indeed among the most backward and economically underdeveloped. In many cases, Muslim countries have fallen behind because they have rejected the pursuit of knowledge, a fundamental injunction of Islam. Some Muslims have closed their minds and allowed the weight of tradition and narrow religious interpretation to stifle inquiry and innovation. Limiting knowledge to religious matters and an overemphasis on rote learning extinguishes the spirit of discovery. This is a disservice to Islam.

Similarly, Muslims often forget that work is also a form of worship and that Islam calls for diligence and industry. If Muslims adhere to these values, then Islam presents itself as a progressive world view, one that in the modern day should be focused on the furthering of knowledge and the development of human capital. While many Muslim countries are rich in natural resources, our greatest resources will always be our people. The Muslim world will progress farthest when it unlocks and develops this potential, through quality education at all levels. Moreover, this will never be achieved if some Muslims continue to neglect the right to education and work for women. Women constitute half the Muslim world’s human capital and in marginalising women we only impoverish ourselves.”

I have no doubt, that such an approach, if shared by other Muslim leaders could provide a foundation for better understanding of civilizations, for peace and prosperity. Lets hope that the first meeting of the UN Alliance of Civilizations that starts today in Madrid will be a good first step in this direction.

I checked the list of participants, Poland is not represented. Why???