Auckland, New Zealand. Wikipedia

New Zealand named the best… Muslim country

New Zealand, a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, is better than several European countries like Sweden or the Netherlands... for Muslims.

Published: June 27, 2019, 1:19 pm

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    The country in Oceania came out on top in a study by the Iranian economist Hossein Askari. Askari looked at the “indices of Islam” in a dozens countries, according to the independent website

    The index devised by the professor at George Washington University, is intended as a tool for assessing which countries convey the teachings of the Quran the best and embody the values of Islam as closely as possible.

    New Zealand came first, even though Muslims are only 1 percent of the total population and nearly 50 percent of the inhabitants identify as Christian.

    After a recent attack on two mosques, which killed several worshippers in March this year, the Pacific Island nation has vowed solidarity with Muslims. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern even donned the Islamic headdress to get the message across. “They are us, we are one,” she said after the attacks.

    The country beats immigration-friendly European countries, such as Sweden – in second place – as well as the Netherlands, Iceland, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark. France, meanwhile, was placed at number 24.

    The top Muslim-dominated country in this ranking is Saudi Arabia, but it came only in 45th place. At the bottom of the list, in 153rd place, was Yemen, where Islam happens to be the state religion.

    The criteria used are not measured on an individual level but rather that of society. For example, the economist explained that “the Quran says that there should be no poverty, so we looked at the poverty indices”.

    Among the other criteria included, animal rights, civil liberties, the integrity of the judicial system, the quality of health care, as well as the distribution of income also featured.

    In an interview with the American magazine Ozy, Askari explained that it was the debate about integrating Islam into Western society that had inspired him to create this “index of Islam”.

    Jacinda Ardern was met with a standing ovation when she appeared before a crowd of thousands, at an event in Christchurch to honor the 50 victims of mosque shootings.

    Ardern was joined onstage by Muslim leaders as she announced a ban on all types of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.

    “[E]ven the ugliest of viruses can exist in places they are not welcome,” she said. “We are not immune to the viruses of hate, of fear, of other. We never have been. But we can be the nation that discovers the cure.”

    Speaking to Muslim journalist Waleed Aly, Ardern said she worried that New Zealanders no longer feel safe in their country. “My job is to make people feel safe. The idea that people currently do not, I find deeply distressing,” she said.

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