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 Thursday, September 27, 2012,  Saudi Gazzette
 Faisal Tahir Khan


On the eve of the 27th of Ramadan when 57 Muslim world leaders were gathered for an OIC conference in Makkah, a young Muslim had a dream at the Holy Mosque. He saw a 100,000-man OIC peace force preventing events like what has happened recently in Burma. He saw a structure of governance that is based on justice and equality and the Islamic world with the best education and health institutions, and the Muslim world ranked among the top tier of the human development index. He saw the 21st century’s next major innovations and discoveries taking place in the Islamic world due to polices such as creating knowledge and industrial parks in OIC countries and due to the excellent education system.

In his dream the young man saw that the collective OIC GDP has jumped to 20 trillion OIC dinars and that the collective per capita income has reached 50,000 OIC dinars. He saw that the Islamic world was less dependent on natural resources and relying more on human resources for its development and that governments were closer to the hearts and minds of their people.
He saw an ecosystem that encouraged entrepreneurship and taught the youth how to fish rather giving them fish to eat every day.

He saw a tolerant, harmonious and united Islamic world composed of countries that focus on issues that unite them rather than those which divide them.

He saw Islamic civilization once again conquering the fields of science, technology, art, medicine, aerospace and information technology and becoming a great contributor to human civilization rather than being on the receiving end.

I believe all Muslims have the same dream as they all want to see a prosperous, self sustainable and developed Islamic world for the generations to come.

One does not need to be a king, president or prime minister to bring about change; every citizen in any capacity can contribute to fulfilling this young Muslim’s dream.

It’s high time that the Islamic world develops a blueprint for its economic and social uplift during the first quarter of the 21st century by creating Islamic World Development Goals 2025 on the lines of Millennium Development Goals to monitor progress. The 57 OIC member countries should work as one team to ensure that all 57 states meet their goals and targets by helping each other where and when required.

Today’s bilateral and multilateral relations between countries and regions are defined by the strength and weakness of their economic relations. Those nations that have more to offer are often categorized as Most Favored Nation (MFN). The countries of the Islamic world need a clear vision in terms of how they would like to position themselves in the 21st century and what role they would like to play and how they envisage achieving that role.

I am sure that we do not have to wait until 2025 to ensure that a child living in Gaza gets good quality education; every person gets 1700 calories a day in Darfur; not a single child will be killed in Burma due to religious hatred; not a single boy has to engage in child labor because he cannot afford to go to school in Sierra Leone; everyone has access to clean drinking water in Somalia; an IT engineer does not have to drive a taxi in Cairo; a girl can graduate in medicine if she wants to in Kabul; Jeddah becomes the most beautiful city in the world; Karachi port becomes the busiest international seaport in Asia; Dubai and Kuala Lumpur have the largest stock markets by trade volume; the best theme park is situated in Marrakech; one of the world’s largest industrial hubs is situated in Turkey; the world’s best fashion brands are headquartered in Beirut; the world’s best business university is based in Doha and the next Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are from Amman and Jakarta.

The Islamic world has great potential that is still untapped and its greatest asset is its people. In the same way that we are exploring and refining our natural resources, we need to truly explore and refine our human resources as that will be the real parameter of our success in decades to come.

I hope and pray for the fulfillment of the dream of this young Muslim for the greater glory of the Muslim Ummah.

 

Faisal Tahir Khan is an entrepreneur and consultant. He can be reached at ftkhan@gmail.com.

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