Why Muslims Can't Build a Lightbulb

by Lewis Loflin

Prior to September 11, 2001 I was corresponding with a young man in Egypt. His father was Egyptian and mother Lebanese, and he seemed to have some wealth going to a Muslim university in Cairo, I forget the name, but it turns out later it was hotbed of what we would call "radical" Islam, he called simply traditional Islam. I believe he was right.

For all this Globalism and multiculturalism garbage aside, has anyone asked young men like this what they think? Here in America anyone not buying into this one-world open borders Corporatism that's destroying our culture and way of life are called racists and isolationists. What do they call him?

He was proud of Islam, but at the same time was in despair and wanted someone to talk to. He just couldn't believe that Muslims were so far behind in wealth, technology, etc. Humiliating military defeats by Israel, mass poverty and backwardness at least by Western standards. As he said, he looked at his cell phone and wondered why Muslims couldn't build one.

We lost contact after 9/11 and I think of him to this day. He could have been my son and I pray he is well. He brought up very important issues we need to address and nobody wants to discuss - the Third World in particular the Islamic world can never compete globally without such massive cultural changes they are no longer Muslim.

Socially and economically Muslim nations are failures and this has nothing to do with colonialism. The Ottoman Turks as far back as the 18th century knew they were in trouble. In every way be it science to civil administration they were falling behind the West. Islam the greatest force of imperialism in history was losing the war of civilization.

The Ottomans and Muslims in general struggled with how to modernize without copying the infidel and Kafirs. One example was the wreck of a Venetian galley that was far more advanced over their own ship designs. They went to religious authorities to find out if Islam allowed even copying infidel technology. The first printing press didn't appear in a Muslim nation until 1729 in Turkey. (Lewis P28) Even then few books were printed and that goes on today.

Taqi al-Din (1525-1585) was appointed in 1571 as chief astronomer by Sultan Murad III. He built an observatory "comparable" in equipment and technology to that of Danish astronomer Tycho Braha. The Sultan ordered it destroyed on the advice of the Chief Mufti. (Lewis P80) Science died in the Muslim world in the 13th century and was going to stay that way.

It was so bad in fact Muslims couldn't even speak most European languages for fear of infidel contamination. They relied on Jews, Greeks, and Armenians to communicate and they were often the most educated and productive citizens in the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottomans became more concerned as they suffered endless defeats and were being pushed out of Southeastern Europe and Russia. This undermined the Muslim economy dependant on slavery, extortion, and poll taxes levied on non-Muslims. As Kafirs were liberated from Muslim rule or were dying out in most areas as Muslim cultural, religious, and ethic genocide did its work, Islamic nations produced little to replace this and that goes on today.

The Barbary Pirate white slavery and theft industry also came to halt as a little known new nation of America defeated them in the early 19th Century. A few years later France under Napoleon would occupy Egypt and the Ottomans were helpless to stop them. The British in the 19th banned the African slave trade further undermining Islamic commerce.



Can't Build a Light Bulb

America which rocked the Muslim world with the defeat of the Barbary Pirates is blamed for Muslim economic failure today. They really need to look at themselves as among the least productive and least educated people in the world. A few decades of colonial rule doesn't explain this problem away. The problem of low productivity and high birth rates are a major factor in my view of failed Muslim states such as Iraq and Syria.

In one news report a farmer in Syria had 2 wives and 12 children lost his farm due to drought and were living in a refugee camp before the present civil war.

In The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis (2003) illustrates how bad it was even then. Muslim Turkey with 64 million people had the world's 23rd largest GDP placed between Denmark and Austria with five million people each. Muslim Indonesia with 212 million people ranked 28th behind Norway with 4.5 million. Behind Indonesia is Saudi Arabia with 21 million people. If it wasn't for oil, I doubt Saudi Arabia would be in the top 100.

Book sales are dismal and this is a direct sign of low education, low productivity, and lack of innovation. According to the United Nations "The Arab world translates 330 books annually, one-fifth the number Greece translates." Since the time of Caliph Maa'moun's in the 19th century the Muslim world has translated the same number of books Spain does in a year. (Lewis P116)

A listing of book sales by country (27) beginning with the United States and ending with Vietnam includes zero Muslim states.

The GDP of all Arab countries in 1999 at $531 billion including oil is less then Spain at $595.5 billion. And in science it's even worse. In a measure of frequently cited science papers per million people in 1987 is dismal:

US 42.99; Australia 17.23; Switzerland 79.90; Israel 36.63; Egypt 0.02; Saudi Arabia 0.07; Kuwait the really big one 0.53; India 0.04.

The world bank in 2000 states the average annual income of Muslim countries from Morocco to Bangladesh was half the world average.

Israel's GDP is 12 times that of Jordan and 13.5 times that of Egypt.

The entire exports of the Arab world outside oil products is less than Finland. Now let's add up the huge drops in oil prices in 2016, etc. and these nations are in even bigger trouble. Saudi Arabia is bailing out Egypt to keep the Muslim Brotherhood at bay as the Egyptian economy mainly tourism has collapsed due to religious violence.

My young Egyptian friend even in 2000 knew this. There's no way to turn around cultures determined to learn nothing and who can't organize a stable government enough to manufacture anything - which is all going to East Asia anyway.

Education levels will never go up in these countries as long as any productive citizens they produce immigrate elsewhere. The future looks dismal for the Islamic world and is getting worse. This failure for whatever reason will continue to drive more and more violence. The West needs to wake up and deal with reality and perhaps curve relationships with these nations until such time they find their own way - and no more damn wars!

Posted August 15, 2016



I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. Thomas Paine