Ireland will slip down ‘Islamicity’ index because of economic crash

Ireland scored highest based on how closely the policies and achievements of countries reflect Islamic economic teachings

“The data that came in was in 2008 before your collapse. Ireland does well because you were doing well economically.”

“The data that came in was in 2008 before your collapse. Ireland does well because you were doing well economically.”

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 01:00

A co-author of a 2010 report that ranked Ireland highest on an index of countries most faithful to Islamic economic teachings says the country is likely to fall down the next ranking because of the Irish economic crisis.

Hossein Askari, a business professor at George Washington University in Washington DC, said that the May 2010 study he carried out with Prof Scheherazde Rehman was based on Irish data when the economy was performing strongly, two years before the country entered an international bailout programme.

No Arab country

In the Economic Islamicity Index, Ireland scored highest based on how closely the policies and achievements of countries reflect Islamic economic teachings. It was followed by Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK. No majority Muslim country made the top 25 in the study, called the “Islamicity index,” and no Arab country made the top 50.

In the Overall Islamicity Index, which ranks countries according to economic factors, equality in law and governance, human and political rights, and international relations, Ireland came third after New Zealand and Luxembourg, and ahead of Iceland, Finland and Denmark.

Of the Muslim countries only Malaysia (38) and Kuwait (48) make it into the top 50 in this index.

“The data that came in was in 2008, before your collapse,” said Dr Askari, a professor of international business and international affairs. “Ireland does well because you were doing well economically.”

Income and wealth distribution was also considered in the ranking by Islamic values, said the Iranian-born academic, and that Islamic economic teachings value equity or profit sharing above debt.

Debt of others

As a result Ireland has fallen down in the index because the public has been burdened with the debt of others due to the crisis, he said.

“There is a whole other discussion about why debt is bad [according to Islamic values],” he said. “There is also leverage and banks abuse their rights – they lend too much and somebody goes bankrupt and the banks collapse and then what happens is that the poor people pay for all the rich people’s borrowings.”

Prof Askari told The Irish Times that countries such as Ireland, Scandinavian countries and places like New Zealand scored highly in the study because “there is at least some caring for other people” in those countries and “that is what the core of Islam is supposed to be”.