Fighting Radicalism with Human Development

Education and Growth in the Islamic World

Ömer Taşpınar
Release Date: May 1, 2005

The rise of militant radicalism in the Islamic world presents a difficult problem to liberal elements within Muslim societies, and threatens the world order with acts of terror. In this book, Omer Taspinar argues that there can be no military solution to terrorism and radicalism. Rather, socioeconomic development is the most effective long-term strategy to fight radicalism.

Taspinar examines the essential problem of human development in the Islamic world. In particular, failing educational systems and economic stagnation hold back the realization of human potential and fuel a climate of despair and resentment. The book analyzes a wide array of social and economic problems, such as low literacy rates, absence of quality education, the gender gap, demographic pressures, lack of foreign direct investment, low economic productivity, and mass unemployment. It also addresses the underlying causes of these deficiencies and the way they relate to radicalization. It then explores the positive effect that private actors, such as foundations, NGOs, and multinational corporations, might have in offering initiatives to improve educational and economic opportunities in the Islamic world.

Rather than focusing on the political and cultural dynamics of Islam, this book concentrates on the underlying socioeconomic issues and effective policy prescriptions targeting specific problems.