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Why I Wish I Had Been Born Islamic Instead Of Catholic

Updated on July 24, 2008

In my Hub dealing with Islam's scientific heritage, I have come up against resistance from some who believe that Muslims are generally uneducated and backwards. I wanted to counter this with some verifiable facts, instead of hearsay.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference has confirmed that the main 57 Islamic nations have a combined GDP of $7.74 trillion, very close to the USA's and a much higher per capita GDP than China or India. This GDP is expected to reach close to $9 trillion in the next reporting year at the same time that the USA's is expected to drop significantly. The CIA's Factbook states that last year Saudi Arabia's GDP was $564.6 billion and various financial research institutes have stated that it is expected to exceed one trillion dollars in the next few years.

Not all Muslims are Taliban who spend their day blowing up Buddhist statues and pulling women out of medical schools. Women have been able to attend university in Egypt for almost 90 years. The University of Istanbul and Cairo University are among the most distinguished educational institutions in the world.

Muslims don't have any stranglehold on poverty: A quick check at the IMF or CIA's ranking of GDP per capita and it is obvious that there are just as many "Christian" nations at the bottom as Islamic!

A figure that is often tossed around is that fifteen percent of the Arab workforce is unemployed. Wow! Really? In my native southern Italy, the capital of Catholicism, almost 30% of the workforce is unemployed. Maybe I should tell my paisanos to move south so that they can get a job?

Anyway, everyone knows that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. But the bottom line is that there is no such thing as Islamic poverty, or illiteracy. Those are global problems and they are shared by Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and every other major religion on Earth. Instead of wasting our energies pointing fingers, why don't all people of good will work to help these poor populations to better their lot in life?

The measure of a civilization should not be marked by the amount of junk it makes. Why does the so called "Western Civilization" have a monopoly on what life should be? After all, mercantilism was frowned upon even in Europe up to a couple of centuries ago. Any Westerner staggering under the crushing weight of credit card and mortgage interest debt would be amazed to learn that Islamic banks are forbidden from charging interest! They charge fees, but so does my Canadian and very un-Islamic bank, while still ripping me for 20% every time I pull my Gold Visa out of my pocket. They suck a $100 annual fee out of me as well over and above the interest. Sign me up for a MuslimCard!

Shari'a law is harsh, but then again, most Muslim countries have crime rates that are virtually nonexistent. The annual totals of rapes and murders in Saudi Arabia are roughly equal to some small Midwestern towns. There's nothing like seeing a guy walk down the street with one hand missing to dissuade you from holding up the Riyadh Seven-Eleven! I'll take Shari'a over our North American revolving door justice system that often gives equivalent sentences for murder as for bouncing a check!

Islamic culture has placed the wholesomeness and protection of the family at the center of its structure, while we "advanced Westerners" have engaged in an orgy of utterly destructive and repugnant social behavior for half a century which has given rise to a totally disconnected, media and drug-soaked, meaningless, self-centered, and feral generation. The ethical codex of the West is to be found on, while Islam always promises and delivers morality and family over promiscuity and decadence.

I was born a Roman Catholic and now respect all major religions, thus I am not a Muslim. But if I had to live my life over again, I would want to be born into a loving, socially-integrated, intellectual and completely orthodox Islamic family where I would have been raised with discipline, loyalty, a strong sense of family and society, as well as a profound love for each other and our God.


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    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto


    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • eugie17 profile image


      9 years ago from online (everywhere)

      I live in Islamic country

      and It's one that has too much oil IRAQ and I can say that 50% of the population are poor and ignorant. and the corruption is 99% of the nation

      what can I say power and money spoils

      and now we are just refugees in another country

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      10 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      Shreyas the Fact, I see that each religion suffers once the hand of men begin to make it "their" religion instead of a belief in God, in whatever form you see God.  The Inquisitions were just exercises in religious genocide, as were the Crusades.

      But the Muslims also had (and still have) their Inquisitions and Crusades - they just give them different names.  I dare say I'd be hard-pressed to find any religion that doesn't try to clean out "heresies" and "impure doctine" that the heirarchy doesn't agree with, and both impure doctrines and heresies are whatever the higher-up religious leaders define them to be.

      To me it's a warning not to allow any religion to take over the reins of government.

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA


      You missed my point entirely.  I was only suggesting the book The Yacoubian Building as it is a very current picture of what is happening in Egypt.  Al Aswany, the writer of the book, was not even allowed to go to the opening of the picture based on his own writings.  Many Egyptians are outraged by the corruption in the current government and I thought you might be interested in this book as you have an interest in Middle Eastern studies.  Being part Syrian myself I am always interested in reading literature, novels, and historcial fiction about this part of the world. As a very nice gesture I suggested a book you might enjoy, and you seemd to have missed my point entirely. I only suggested the book because you seem very interested in topics about the Middle East. There are other elements about the book also, such as the descriptions of how homosexuals do not have rights, women rights, and many other issues. The people living in the building are the main emphasis of the book, but it does travel other places and goes farther into depth about social issues in Egypt, which is something all societies struggle with.

    • shreyas the fact profile image

      shreyas the fact 

      10 years ago from india

      see man  it  is  real  simple  thing  if  every  one  understands  the  way  it 

      As  i read  some  of  the statements  which  quite true. As  u have  menstioned  Actually there  is  less  percentage  of  crime  In  some  arab  counry, the  problem is  most  of  the  people  from this  part  of  the world  have  no intetion of  troubling  their  people  but  instead  others. You  see  as  i have  read  &  understood  Kuran  &  I  can clearly  say  that   in  muslim  world  there  is  a  big  VIRUS  called  misconception  or  let  me  put it  this way wrong  understanding  of  scriptures [I am writing this keeping Some fantics &   Jihad  movemen ]. You  see  when  christianity  started  there was  a  popular word called " anti-christ".  Even though the  person  was  chrstian. Some times he  was termed  as anti-christ &  was  punished  Since  he  commited  him self  into  doin wrong thing which he is not suppose to do as told by christ,& this fello used to be punished. So   in the  same  way  when  mohamad prophet said  that punish  anti-islamic  it  only  means  that  who  are  not  following  certain point  made  by  god. Like  stealing others  money, killing  innocent &  many such   things. Even  a muslim  does  this,  frm  that   point  he  will  be  treated  as anti-muslim &  was punished.

      Ok let  me  come to  main  point now. When such is  the  case why  this people  want kill  other  poor  inocent  people  who  have not indulged them  self  in doin wrong. And above to that they wana say that there are doin it for god sake.

      Clearly  it  means  that  this  people  are  anti-islamic isnt it. IT is like this people always want believ i n beautiful lies they want to live with them, to achieve thier purpose they acualy shape this sentences like the way they want. SO when they kill some innocent people they say it for their god this a shit which no one can bare.So, Next time when u try to make comparisons as u have done in this Hub do it with ur own religon Or the things that u believe in.

      One thing is for sure On this rotten world, even  your  religion is  not  great not even  mine.  But  is  I &  YOU  who  make it good  great. WHEN  I read this  Hub  i felt u clearly  &  indirectly  saying  that  other  religons  are  not  great  as  urs.  THIS  awful  shit  that  I cant tolerate.  Your  hub  is well  written But  it  is  still  expressing  Ur  possesiveness  towards  ur religion Not only  that  but  ur  condeming other  religions. By making some pathetic comparisons.

      I accept that  this  religon  is  great  as others but it has  tooo  many  FANTICS  which  is bad  for  the goood of  the world. Hope  u  understand  frnd.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      Superlative comments and thanks to all for contributing to this discussion. This is the sort of subject that is best dealt with in the light of day in full view, so by all means, I encourage you to continue expressing your opinions. Each opinion is valid as long as it respects the beliefs of others.

      A few points:

      PT: Thanks for that link to that map. It is an excellent resource and a great way to visualize an abstract subject.

      lapak2000: Yes, I am funny and a complete hit at parties. :) But to clarify to you and letz rock, I have decided to learn and respect all major religions and although if I had my life to do over I would definitely choose Islam from the start, I'm comfortable in my "universal" attitude at this time.

      Chef Jeff: Faith is a very personal thing and makes up the fabric of an individual, therefore, as you say, it is very difficult to make a person change.

      SweetiePie: The Yacoubian Building is no novelty to me as in the cores of the major cities in my own native ultra-Catholic southern Italy the living conditions are not vastly different than the people living in the storage sheds on the roof. I have several cousins and only two of them have what could be called a roof over their heads. The rest might appreciate the roof of the Yacoubian, as it might be a step up from where they live now.

      jreuter: Being a Muslim does not automatically make one a saint, and the same can be said about any major religion. There are extremes in all faith systems and horrific people who do horrific things. Pedro Alonso Lopez and Henry Lucas were both Christians, yet they cold bloodedly murdered 500 innocent people between them. However, the majority of Muslims, as the majority of Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, etc. are upstanding citizens. I believe my own personal characteristics would have been best nurtured in an Islamic home. That is not to say that any other Christian-born person would wish the same experience or react in the same manner.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 

      10 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I agree with Chef Jeff, there is no one religion that isn't tainted by human shortcomings, Islam included. Your hub is well-written but deals in generalizations, after all, where does the status of women fall into your family-centered Islam? Let's not forget, honor killings occur more than we know, in some areas women run the risk of physical harm by showing one square inch of skin, and just three days ago three women were executed for adultery by the Taliban. How is this a family centered religion when women are treated in such a manner? And Islam delivers family over promiscuity? Uh, I can't agree. Adultery, pornography and promiscuity are absolutely occurring in Muslim families throughout the Middle East, it's just far more hidden. I can tell story after story about guys I met over there who are just as much sleazebags as a cheating American huband. I think you have an idealized concept of Islam, but, unless you already have, spend some time in the M.E. It sounds like it'll be pretty disappointing.

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      10 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      I am certain that generally where I live if anyone wishes to change their religion to another they are pretty much free to do so.  There are exceptions, of course.  In some places such a move would be tantamount to seeking to die young, for religious leaders in some places do not allow people to convert to another religion. 

      However, no matter which religion you might seek to change to, I believe that in the end you will find that most religions have some common faults, such as the ingrained idea that only their ideas bear fruit and have merit, and that all other religions are either false or inspired by some evil force. 

      In the "Dark Ages" of Europe, for example, a Christian could not become a Jew, and a Jew who became a Christian was always considered tainted in spite of the conversion.

      Every religion uses texts that have been written to see and explain the world only in terms of the religion itself.  I have found, for example, very little proof of many of the things written in the Christian Bible.  If I had to vet it as a history book I am afraid I could not in good conscious allow it to pass as history.  Too much of it was written solely to create and maintain a faith, not to stand the scrutiny of cold, hard analysis.

      Does that mean I reject it?  No, indeed it does not.  I believe because I have faith, and to me, faith means I believe even if I can't prove 100% accuracy.  I know that may sound silly, but that is why faith and science are two different things.  If I had been born into an Islamic or Jewish culture I would most likely believe the same thing - that the book of my faith was true inspite of the many apparent and seeming inaccuracies found therein.

      Just the same, I am aware of the shortcomings of the English translation of an ancient book, a book which even the scholars of the original languages can not and often do not agree on whether or not this word or phrase means the thing we understand it to mean today.  In short, English words and meanings do not necessarily fit neatly and nicely with ideas and concepts and words used two or three thousand years ago.

      I am a Christian by birth and I am familiar with and enjoy much of what my faith offers to me.  I have no doubts that devoted Jewish or Muslim persons also find satisfaction in their beliefs, many of which many be different than my own.  I find I have little time for the intolerant and even less time for those who seek to browbeat me with ideas as to why I am following a false path and only their path leads to God.

      WhenI lived in Spain I was being pursued by a Brother Eddie and his flock.  Brother Eddie actually told me that only the people who attended HIS church would be caught up in the rapture!  So, only the 125 or so souls who followed him would make it into Heaven.

      One can easily cite this bit of history or that tidbit of popular belief which will "prove" catagorically that one religion is intolerant, has bloody hands or is false, while another is the ONLY one God will recognize as being true.

      I believe that many of the Islamic nations today, especially amongst those who are intolerant of other religions, are acting pretty much the same way as did the Europeans who went off on their various crusades against the Infidels.  After all, what was the alleged purpose of the Crusades? To take back lands under control of another faith.  Oh yeah, and also to rape a pillage, but that was an afterthought, I'm sure.

      After all is said and done I have found that religion is much more a matter of one's culture, society and background than it is personal choice.  One may convert to another religion, but few people actually do.

      As for fanatics - You might as well argue that a tiger change its stripes as to try to convert a fanatic of any religion to a different belief.  It may happen on rare occasions, but it is hardly the norm.

    • lapak2000 profile image


      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines


      You are so funny. Anyone could convert themselves to Muslim anytime if they want!!!!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Have you read the book the Yacoubian Building? I really enjoyed it and I think you might like it.

    • Prophecy Teacher profile image

      Prophecy Teacher 

      10 years ago from Dallas Texas

      Just for info Hal, this link shows GNP/GDP very well and has maps.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      No need! :)

    • Prophecy Teacher profile image

      Prophecy Teacher 

      10 years ago from Dallas Texas

      I apologize.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      You're very welcome PT. Except, please note, I'm not a Muslim or a member of any other religion. :)

    • Prophecy Teacher profile image

      Prophecy Teacher 

      10 years ago from Dallas Texas

      In the article I posted on the other Hub - they are quoting GNP - that is the numbers quoted. I overlooked the fact that while they were quoting GNP accurately - they typed GDP (PPP) instead. But here is a link to the world GNP and the numbers match exactly. So - to clarify - GNP of the Muslim Countries is 2 trillion (see chart)

      Now, concerning GDP (PPP) as you answered above - and I posted the weakness of the argument - as a true gauge of economic value. If you wish to believe it's worth as a guage - with so many of the other words such as -some, not all - not agreed - these assumptions are clearly not realistic, might not hold, ongoing controversy etc.... go for it. The conclusion at the bottom clearly says the consensus is emerging. But it is only emerging for what it is. It is a different economic factor. It measures something different than GNP.

      But GNP - is not in doubt nor controversial - it's hard fact - based on CASH. The entire National Production of each country is far more relevant than how relative each citizen is to his other citizens (within his country) based on similitudes of other countries living conditions. You may have to read that a couple of times.

      But look - for me that's enough. I'm not a nitpicker and I have a wide latitude in seeing other's points. I'm not out to clutter your hubs or endlessly debate your good intentions. I merely intended to show that your intentions though good may be a little over zealous - in defending your religion to the point that it saved, is saving , and will save mankind.

      Thanks Hal.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      As you stated: "the consensus emerging from the vast literature on the subject is that PPP in its relative form is generally valid, at least in the long run." Thank you for reinforcing my point! :)

    • Prophecy Teacher profile image

      Prophecy Teacher 

      10 years ago from Dallas Texas

      You mean this PPP???

      Empirical evidence on PPP

      Whether or not PPP holds is an ongoing controversy. The reasons why it might not hold are numerous. The strictest form of PPP requires that:

      1. financial markets are perfect with no controls, taxes, transaction costs, etc;

      2. goods markets are perfect with international shipment of goods able to take place freely, instantaneously and without cost;

      3. there is a single consumption good common to everyone; or

      4. the same commodities appear in the same proportions in each country’s consumption basket.

      These assumptions are clearly unrealistic. Furthermore, the PPP hypothesis designates relative inflation differentials as the only source of exchange rate variations. However, at least in the short run, other non-monetary phenomena such as changes in relative prices as well as changes in the level and composition of output and consumption influences the supply and demand for foreign currency and thus the exchange rate.

      Some studies have found little support for the PPP hypothesis. They found substantial deviations from the law of one price in the commodities markets. If the law of one price does not hold, then PPP is not likely to hold either. However, another series of studies finds that PPP does hold but with a considerable time lag. Some suggest that PPP is often violated in the short run but holds up well in the long run. Most tests done on longer periods or on high inflation economies provide stronger support for PPP. Despite disagreements over some specific points, the consensus emerging from the vast literature on the subject is that PPP in its relative form is generally valid, at least in the long run.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      Dude, in the famous words of Gordon Ramsay "you're talking out of your arse." :)

      Hot off the CIA's site for GDP (PPP):

      Turkey $888 Billion

      Indonesia $837 Billion

      Iran $753 Billion

      There's well over 2 trillion right there. More than 50 countries to go and we haven't even addressed Saudi Arabia's $564.6 Billion. And puh-leez let's not get into a discussion of PPP vs. official exchange rate, as PPP is by far the more acknowledged measure by economists.

    • Prophecy Teacher profile image

      Prophecy Teacher 

      10 years ago from Dallas Texas

      YOU SAID:

      ""The Organization of the Islamic Conference has confirmed that the main 57 Islamic nations have a combined GDP of $7.74 trillion, very close to the USA's and a much higher per capita GDP than China or India""

      But Hal, truthfully, I did not quote the OIC on the other Hub for the figures. I quoted the MUSLIM MAJORITY COUNTRIES. Different fish. What you fail to mention in the above statement is that the OIC inlcudes Russia (2 trillion) and several OTHER non-majority Muslim nations belonging to the OIC. This is where the other 3 trillion comes from. So once again - the true total GDP for Muslim Majority nations COMBINED - INCLUDING OIL - is 2 trillion (less than Germany - a country we bombed back into the stones ages just 60 years ago) - thus my conclusion and question - what's up with that?

      I made a typing error by putting in 57 (which is the OIC number) but I said the muslim countries - meaning to say Muslim Majority. Never the less the point is made - where Islam rules - the number is 2 trillion.


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