Malaysian Muslims Lead in Balancing Religious Observance and Social Development
It has always been a big question: Which Muslims in what Muslim country are closer to achieving the ideal of Islamic wellbeing? Whose country is doing better at applying Islamic values? One response is a newly formulated rating index, the Islamic Index of Well-being (IIW), which suggests that Muslims in Malaysia lead the Muslim countries surveyed in Islamic well-being, just ahead of their Indonesian cousins. These two countries were clearly ahead globally in the group of 27 out of the 51 Muslim-majority countries for which full data was available to be assessed. Senegal, the Palestinian territories and Bangladesh came next, followed by other Middle-eastern countries, then the sub-Sahara African countries. Ex-communist bloc Muslim countries have the lowest indices, no doubt a consequence of the severe anti-religious policies formerly applied there, including widespread persecution. The results reflect a relative lag of Middle-eastern countries in this index, given that they are traditionally considered as the heart of the Muslim world.