By DR. MINHAJ QIDWAI
[This article has been written with the assistance from the information on: www.nobelprize.org. Author is a medical doctor, with Masters in Health and Business Administration from USA. He is a medico-marketing consultant in North America. He regularly contributes for Greater Kashmir]Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize Mohamed ElBaradei an Egyptian Muslim can be a role Model for all those who want to contribute towards peace and prosperity in the modern world.
Israel will not accept that it is a nuclear power; neither IAEA can do much in this regard. Uncle Sam always comes to rescue Israel. In case of Iran, it has become an ego factor, same as that faced by Pakistan when India did the second round of nuclear tests in 1998, that was followed by the declaration from Pakistan. Therefore, Israel has its program that IAEA cannot do anything. So, how to tackle Israel is a big challenge for IAEA. At the same time, Iran is also the verge of becoming a nuclear power, however, its case is about to be recommended to the Security Council. While North Korea is just threatening to obtain as much economic gains as possible. It would be advisable for IAEA to facilitate North Korea in its quest of US market, negotiate and foster a good deal for this economically broke country.
Noble Prize- Muslims Vs Others
After a century of its commencement, only a handful of Muslim names appear in the list of Nobel Prize winners. So far only six people from Muslim countries have won the Nobel, with only two of them in science - Pakistan’s Dr Abdus Salam (physics) and Egypt’s Ahmad Zewail (chemistry). Four have won it for peace (Anwar Saadat, Yasser Arafat, Iran’s Shirin Ebadi, and now Mr. El-Baradei), and Egypt’s Naguib Mahfouz for literature. Most Nobel prizes are won by western countries.
This clearly depicts the status of Muslims in the current era, and teaches us some lessons. One is that America and West are progressing and the Muslims are lagging far behind. Bashing of West by Muslim scholars not only creates hatred for the West but also gives pseudo impression that Muslims are superior. The torch of knowledge that once used to be with the Muslims is now in the hands of West. Whatever may be the type of society the West is breeding, we have to learn lessons from them. Their reason of progress is openness of mind, free speech, and allowing the talent to grow, which is missing in today’s Muslim world.
Europe liberated itself from the clutches of the darkness centuries ago, but one cannot say when a day will come when the Muslim people will begin to think for themselves. The US may have its neo-conservative fanatics but it also has men and women dedicated to science, art, literature, charity and human rights. Many Muslim immigrants are in western institutions for learning and contribute to science and technology in the research-oriented atmosphere they find in the West.
It is a measure of the backwardness of the Muslim world that the Jewish world with a population of 12 million has won 163 Nobel prizes, 151 of them in science, while the Muslim world has produced only two Nobel laureates in science.
This was not always the case. During Europe’s Dark Ages, the Muslim world flourished intellectually and produced men whose contribution to the sciences and arts is recognized till this day. Spain’s Averroes (Ibn Rushd) was the world’s first freethinker, while Ibn Khaldun, with his monumental work Prolegomena, is considered the “father of historiography”. Others include Al Beiruni, who measured the radius of the earth in the 11th century and was wrong by a margin of 15 kilometers, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) whose book on medicine, Al Qanoon, was taught in European universities until the 17th century. One of his students was a brilliant Jewish scholar, Ibn Gabirol.
The basic reason for flourishing of the intellect was the atmosphere of tolerance in the Muslim world. For that reason, Muslim Spain is recognized as intellectually Jewish history’s best era.
The Jews from Spain included Maimonides, whose writings profoundly affected Jewish thought. He found himself in Egypt and was a physician at Saladin’s court. The Abbasid caliphs patronized learning, and encouraged the translation of Greek books on philosophy into Arabic, while Al Ghazali, in the Middle East, and Averroes in Spain were leading lights in polemics. Averroes’ writings later gave rise to a school of thought in Europe called Latin Averroism.
The Mongol sacking of Baghdad not only destroyed Arab civilization; it also intellectually crippled the Muslims. Since then, Muslims have not recovered. The recent second ransacking of Baghdad, by the Mongols of current era, has further demoralized the Muslims. If Muslims have to blame someone, it is themselves. There is a misconception portrayed by the Western media about Jihad that it is with a weapon in hand to fight and kill any one and Muslims are terrorists. Jihad is a struggle; and this could be against any just cause. Jihad against illiteracy, poverty, hunger, for the freedom against the oppressor, and for the sake of religion.
Muslims have to learn lessons from the Jews. When the Jews can rise from the ashes of holocaust - a term coined and well marketed by them; then why not the Muslims can rise after September 11, and from the ashes of Baghdad and Afghanistan. The Europeans and the Jews are an exemplary in terms of utilization of media, marketing, research and economic strength. Muslims have to follow the suit.
If the Muslims want to compete and rise in the present world, they need a Paradigm shift. Just waiting for the Messiah to come, is not the need of the hour. An august body of Muslim Think Tank under the banner of Organization of Islamic Conference is required immediately that can oversee the required change.
Change from hatred to tolerance; Jihad for literacy rather that portrayed by Western media; Open mindedness in terms of inquiry rather than tunneled vision; respecting time rather wasting it; smart, rather shabby work; economic growth rather than on a slippery slope of poverty; and to face the storm from its center, rather caving to it; are the desired changes. Only these measures can bring them strength, stability, and regaining their lost prestige in the world.
To conclude, Muslims have tremendous unearthed potential. They can be instrumental in bringing peace in the world. Every Muslim should be proud of Mr. ElBaradei who has shown that Muslims can stand on to their principles and overcome challenges they face due to their opposition, and still succeed. The will of Alfred Nobel for honoring the people with outstanding achievement must be praised. His dynamite, which brought him fame and wealth, was for peace, development, and scientific inventions, not for the warmongers of the current era. Mr. ElBaradei, who has won the prize in peace have tough challenges ahead. He has to bring equity between the Israel’s nuclear program and that of Iran, and promote economic development of North Korea. If he succeeds in doing so, we may see him repeating his performance in the time to come.
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