Personal Freedom Is Still Limited In Most Of The Islamic World With Just 3% Of Muslims Living In Countries That Are Freer Than The Global Average

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Personal Freedom Is Still Limited In Most Of The Islamic World With Just 3% Of Muslims Living In Countries That Are Freer Than The Global Average

A report for the Cato Institute by Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish born political commentator, has stated that just 3% of the global Muslim population live in countries that are freer than the global national average. That's equivalent to just 60 million Muslims out of a total world population of 1.9 billion.

The investigation looked at 51 countries where Muslims make up the majority of the population and then looked at the Human Freedom Index, an independent academic index into freedom within nations. The HFI looks at things such as freedom of citizens to follow their own religion as well as, freedom of speech. It also takes into account issues such as safety and security and economic freedoms. It is widely regarded as the world's most in-depth analysis of human freedom. Akyol's analysis however, only looked at issues of personal freedom, e.g. freedom of speech and ability to live one's life as one wishes, as well as gender rights.

Of the 60 million Muslims living in countries above the average level of freedom, 30 million live in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Kyrgyzstan and Burkina Faso. The other 30 million live in Western nations that are not majority Muslim. Bosnia & Herzegovina is the freest of all Muslim majority countries.

At the other end of the spectrum lie the nations of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Libya. Nations where freedom of speech and religion is banned and where personal freedoms are often non-existent. Akyol points out that in nations such as Egypt, Turkey and Bahrain the level of freedom over the last few years has dropped dramatically. He did, however, note that Tunisia and Lebanon have relatively respectable levels of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

Through the research, a curious revelation did also emerge in relation to democracy and personal freedom. While personal freedom would normally be expected to generally increase with democracy, Akyol saw limited direct correlation between this in the research. Instead, he noticed that in many 'democratic' nations, the high support for Islamic parties, such as in Turkey, has allowed these regimes to heavily curtail individual freedom and the rule of law.

In the report, Akyol notes this and states that while secular states are indeed more free than religious based states, being secular alone does not bring freedom, and that for freedom to exist, there must be individual freedom and a liberal democracy. He states:

"Therefore, personal freedom in the Muslim world seems highest in secular states that also have more moderate political regimes—as opposed to draconian regimes, such as in Egypt. Social attitudes, religious traditions, and customs also matter, as human liberty can be suppressed not only by autocratic states but also by illiberal societies."

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Thinking Humanity: Personal Freedom Is Still Limited In Most Of The Islamic World With Just 3% Of Muslims Living In Countries That Are Freer Than The Global Average
Personal Freedom Is Still Limited In Most Of The Islamic World With Just 3% Of Muslims Living In Countries That Are Freer Than The Global Average
A report for the Cato Institute by Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish born political commentator, has stated that just 3% of the global Muslim population live
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