Tuesday, July 1, 2008

World's Top 10 Public Intellectuals Muslims

Foreign Policy:

Rankings are an inherently dangerous business. Whether offering a hierarchy of countries, cities, or colleges, any such list—at least any such list worth compiling—is likely to generate a fair amount of debate. In the last issue, when we asked readers to vote for their picks of the world’s top public intellectuals, we imagined many people would want to make their opinions known. But no one expected the avalanche of voters who came forward. During nearly four weeks of voting, more than 500,000 people came to ForeignPolicy.com to cast ballots.


No one spread the word as effectively as the man who tops the list. In early May, the Top 100 list was mentioned on the front page of Zaman, a Turkish daily newspaper closely aligned with Islamic scholar Fethullah G├╝len. Within hours, votes in his favor began to pour in. His supporters—typically educated, upwardly mobile Muslims—were eager to cast ballots not only for their champion but for other Muslims in the Top 100. Thanks to this groundswell, the top 10 public intellectuals in this year’s reader poll are all Muslim. The ideas for which they are known, particularly concerning Islam, differ significantly. It’s clear that, in this case, identity politics carried the day.

Granted, the poll's results are not the most objective, but they are still very interesting. For one thing, I was surprised to see how little I know about Muslim intellectuals - I didn't recognize the names of half the people on the list! If you're like me, take a few minutes to get to know the top 10 intellectuals - whether or not your support their thinking or ideology:

1. Fethullah Gulen
2. Muhammad Yunus
3. Yusuf Al Qaradawi
4. Orhan Pamuk
5. Aitzaz Ahsan
6. Amr Khaled
7. Abdolkarim Sorouch
8. Tariq Ramadan
9. Mahmood Mamdani
10. Shirin Ebadi


Muslimah said...

I had heard of 4/10 people. 'Tariq Ramadan' did ring a bell but i couldn't place him in my mind specifically. I'm surprised to see the name Aitizaz Ahsan. He was completely known until the death of Pakistan's Benezir Bhutto & the subsequent political upheaval. He is a political figure so i wonder what he is doing in this list. Infact, that can be said about most people on that list!

But then again, the list is subjective as classifying anyone as "intellectual" is also subjective.

Anonymous said...

The list is also an indicator of the Ummah's ability to take online surveys in a frenzied fashion!