We are four individuals acting in our private capacity as concerned global citizens of the one planet we all share. One of us is a PhD economist (Hossein Askari), another is a finance specialist (Hossein Mohammadkhan), a third is a PhD in Islamic Economics/Finance (Liza Mydin), and a fourth is a web specialist (Mostafa Omidi).
We have felt, and continue to feel that Islam, the religion, was hijacked soon after Prophet Mohammad’s death. Rulers used, no more correctly abused, religion as the instrument to control the masses for their own selfish ends. Pliant and opportunistic clerics supported their benefactors through their false interpretation of the message of Islam. This practice has continued throughout history to the point where today we see clerics, rulers, politicians, terrorists of all shades, institutions, organizations and individuals espousing and practicing a religion that has very little resemblance to the teachings of the Holy Quran and its interpretation by the Prophet Mohammad. In most Muslim countries, Muslims have little say about the governance of their country; they enjoy very little freedom; and they are prohibited from examining, discussing and discovering their religion from the Quran. Rulers and clerics have placed themselves as the only legitimate interpreters of Islam and routinely dismiss questions from Muslims as ill informed and not worthy of discussion. Such a disconnect between the teachings of the Quran and its practice has emboldened radicals, opportunists and terrorists to fill the void and preach a version of Islam that has perverted the religion, divided humanity, pitted Muslims against Muslims, Muslims against Christians, Muslims against Jews and is destroying the fellowship of humankind that is at the core of all religions of the Book.
In 2006, feeling the pain around us, we set about to address this disconnect between the teachings of the Quran and its practice in the Muslim World. Our approach was to establish a benchmark, based on the Quran, which Muslims could use to question the governance and policies of their countries. They could use the indices to assess the success of their governments, their rulers and their clerics in establishing societies that reflected Quranic teachings and values, a benchmark that over time could measure success and failure and afford them an instrument for affecting helpful reforms.
We are confident that fundamental change and reform in Muslim countries can only come in the context of Islam. The purpose of our endeavor is first and foremost to encourage each and every Muslim to directly discover his or her religion from its indisputable source—the Holy Quran—not from pronouncements of clerics, rulers, the media and much less from extremists, who all have their own agendas. Second, it is to provide Muslims with a performance indicator of their rulers, governments and communities and to take ownership of their societies. Third, it is to assess successes and failures in order to derive better policies. Fourth, it is hoped that this endeavor will be the catalyst for positive change in the Muslim world, by providing a benchmark to assess success and failure. Fifth, by adopting our indicators or a modified version better suited for a particular country as benchmark, we hope that Muslim societies will build effective institutions (the foundation of economic prosperity and social success) as recommended in Islam. Sixth, it is hoped that both the Muslim and non-Muslim world will begin to attribute the current state of affairs in Muslim countries not to Islam, but to its correct source—non rule-compliant Muslim rulers and governments, their cronies, and their foreign backers and the failure of individual Muslims to take ownership of their religion. And seventh, these developments should help in closing the growing chasm between the Muslim and non-Muslim world to enhance the unity of humankind. For a short talk on “Islamicity”, please go to the Talk link, a podcast that was aired on the German Broadcasting System in February 8, 2015: “A Benchmark for Islamic Societies: The Seed for Change.”
In sum, our goal, though simple, is Herculean—bring about peaceful and positive change in Muslim countries and narrow the chasm between East and West. We believe that Islamicity Indices offer the best instrument and hope for achieving this goal (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/islamicity-indices–the-b_b_8950332.html). We hope that you will join and support us in this journey.
Our Work Plan
– Develop a three-year Plan of Action
– Incorporate a foundation and/or collaborate with a university to manage the initiative
– Initiate Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts in a number of languages for a global network
– Further develop and expand our website
– Initiate a fund raising program for a permanent endowment for Islamicity Foundation to support our work
– Convene an inaugural conference to announce and kick off the Program
– Collaborate online with established local NGOs (or support the creation of new NGOs) initially in a few Muslim countries (tentatively Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Qatar and Tunisia) to monitor developments and progress along each dimension of the indices and to issue papers that include policies and their implementation to establish effective institutions and increase the number of countries covered each year (to cover most Muslim countries in about ten years)
– Improve and update indices yearly
– Issue white papers on a few Muslim countries bi-annually delineating areas of progress and areas of shortfall and recommending helpful policies
– Issue summary papers on country experiences to enhance development in all countries
– Establish a fellows program and invite fellows from a handful of countries each year to engage in promoting indices and institution building in their Muslim countries
– Convene a conference every three years to take stock, monitor progress and disseminate results