Islam and economic growth in Malaysia
Ahmad, Mahmud bin
McNab, Robert M.
Looney, Robert E.
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Muslim countries are often thought of as culturally backward, authoritarian, misogynistic, and poor in economic performance. The teachings of Islam, however, prescribe democratic governance and free-market economics. While Muslims, as a whole, have tremendous economic potential, many Muslims are among the world's poorest and least educated. Corrupt autocratic leaders have attempted to capitalize on the Muslim dream of building a grand society but owing to these manipulations and leaders' insincerity, their efforts have yielded little fruitful results. This thesis discusses nation building by fusing Islam, pluralism, democracy, and modernity. It argues that Malaysia's religious tolerance and adherence to western development models fostered economic growth since its independence. Clearly, practicing Islam, while pursuing social, economic, and political development, is a suitable model especially for heterogeneous societies. The thesis offers a model, Malaysia, as a unique example of the influence of Islamic universalism, multiculturalism, and Islamic modernism to improve economic growth. The thesis depicts the evolutionary transformation of Malay-Islam from its settlement to its status as a model for Muslims and the Third World countries. This thesis illustrates the compatibility of Islam and modernity in economic development.
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