. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world at about 230 mn., had successful parliamentary elections in 2009, further consolidating the country’s decade-old democracy. Secular parties did better this year, and support for Muslim fundamentalism dropped, both in the voting both and in opinion polls. President Barack Obama’s enormous popularity in the country is credited by some observers for a sharp decline in approval of Muslim militancy. Indonesia has become the world’s 19th largest economy, and it, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the three Muslim-majority states in the G20.
A Pew Forum on Religion and Life poll finds that American Muslims are unusual in the degree to which they are integrated into mainstream American society and demonstrate moderate attitudes, condemning religious extremism and violence. They differ siegnificantly from the profile of Muslims in the UK and Germany, e.g, in these regards. (Muslims in the US are generally from higher class origins and are better educated and wealthier than is typically the case with European Muslims).
Qatar is on track to average 7.5 percent per annum growth for the next few years. The natural gas giant is a cauldron of development activity. It permits Aljazeera satellite news to remain the most open and controversial media outlet in the Arab world. It is expanding the ‘Education City’ complex, in which many American universities maintain campuses, and which serves as a key educational hub for the Gulf and its region. (This robust expansion contrasts with the difficult times higher education is facing in Dubai).
Saudi Arabia opened its first coeducational college campus, the King Abdullah Science and Technology University. In a country where the sexes have been so separated in public that some have spoken of ‘gender Apartheid,’ this move, which came from King Abdullah, provoked raging controversy. When a prominent cleric criticized having male and female students on the same campus and the teaching of modern scientific theories like Darwinism, the king summarily fired his ass. It may seem a small thing, but many big social processes start small. Most Americans forget that Princeton U. did not become coed until 1969.