every family in Bangladesh now has a member who can read and write. The same should apply to the Muslims in Pakistan and India. Likewise, literacy rate in Arabic (Madrassa) education has also gone up significantly. Hence, the present level of religious bigotry, fanaticism, violence and terrorism should have been substantially less amongst the Muslims in these countries, as compared to that of the 1950s and 60s. In reality, the opposite has happened. That is, there has been a massive increase in Islamic fanaticism and violence in recent years as compared to the 1950s and 60s. Hence, lack of education can no way be blamed for the increase in fanaticism and terrorism as seen in the Muslim societies at all corners of the world today.
The next principal reason put forward as the underlying cause of recent worldwide surge in Islamic terrorism is the alleged desperate poverty amongst the Muslims. To analyze this point, I will once again compare the relative wealth and prosperity of the Muslims in the 1950s and 60s to those of the present time. When I was a young boy in the early 1970s, my father was a very ordinary farmer with limited lands and we used to make a hand-to-mouth living often with difficulty during some periods of the year. The income from the agricultural farming was such that when we, the 4 siblings, started going to school (2nd
8th grade, free education); my father was failing to support the family. So, he decided to sell away all the land to set up a small business, which worked much better to feed the family and support our education. During those days, my mother would require some temporary domestic help during the harvesting season. When she used to send inquiries to the neighborhood about if anyone available to give her a hand, in a matter of hours a few parents would come to our house to request my mother to employ their young daughters, sometimes just for subsistence (3 meals a day). As compared to then, the quality of living in our family has improved no less than ten folds now. My parents live a kind of luxurious life in a beautiful bungalow house on the money sent by three of our well-off brothers. Recently, as my mother became frail with age, she tried to find someone to do the much simpler job of cooking and cleaning the house. She needed six months to find someone to do those simple chores in exchange of subsistence plus a good salary. There is definitely poverty in Bangladesh today. However, the situation has improved a lot as compared to the desperate poverty and hunger that existed in the 1960s and 70s. The above example clearly proves this assertion. Hence, if poverty is to be taken as a genuine cause of the current surge in Islamic extremism, then there should have been more terrorism in the 1970s than that of the present time in Bangladesh. But in truth, today Bangladesh is plagued by Islamic intolerance and terrorism almost as much as any other Muslim country in the world. The same parallel also applies to Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and all of the Middle East countries. Indeed, the oil-producing Muslim countries have made massive economic strides with concomitant increase in religious violence. This clearly discounts
as an underlying driver of the recent bubble in Islamic terrorism worldwide.
Deprivation/Disenfranchisement of the Muslims
The issue of deprivation or disenfranchisement is more relevant to the context of the migrant Muslims in the Western countries or those living in the countries where Muslims constitute a