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Which country best reflects Islamic values? Ireland

Ireland most closely reflects Islamic values, according to the study [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 September, 2015

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Blog: Ireland has been named the country that most closely reflects Islamic economic and social values, according to a study carried out by a leading US academic.

Stand aside, Saudi Arabia. Back off, Qatar. Egypt? You can wait a minute, too.

For it is not these Muslim-majority nations that act as embodiments of Islam, despite the public religiosity of their residents and rulers.

No, according to a recent study, to find a true reflection of Islamic economic and social values, one must look thousands of miles to the north and the west of the lands once roamed by the Prophet Muhammad, to a little green, rainy isle in the North Atlantic ocean.

Ireland.

It may be more known for Catholics and Guinness, but according to a leading academic at George Washington University in the US, it is Ireland's national culture which best represents Islamic values.

In remarks that will in no way put the proverbial cat among the pigeons, Hossein Askari, an Iranian-born professor of international business and international affairs, said the Quran's teachings were better represented in Western societies than in Islamic countries.

"We must emphasise that many countries that profess Islam and are called Islamic are unjust, corrupt and underdeveloped - and are in fact not 'Islamic' by any stretch of the imagination," he said.

Askari said Islamic countries had failed to embrace the values of their own faith in politics, business, law and society, according to The Daily Telegraph.

He also argued that Muslim countries used religion as an instrument of state control.

"Looking at an index of Economic Islamicity, or how closely the policies and achievements of countries reflect Islamic economic teachings - Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Norway, and Belgium round up the first ten," he said.

"Islam is, and has been for centuries, the articulation of the universal love of Allah for his creation and for its unity, and all that this implies for all-encompassing human and economic development."

The study examined cultural life in 208 countries. Malaysia was the highest-placed Muslim-majority nation, at 33.

Also ranking on the Islamicity Index were Kuwait at 48 and the UAE at 64. Hot on the heels of Turkey (71) was Tunisia, placed 72nd.

Saudi Arabia came in at 91, with Egypt ranked 128th - still higher than Algeria (131), Iraq (148) and Yemen (168).

In a sign that the study's methodology may require some more work, Israel was ranked a surprising 27th.

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