Index reveals corruption rife in Islamic world

August 13, 2012

When we post articles about financial crimes, corruption, graft, bribery, and theft in predominantly Muslim nations, we are sometimes told that we’re being biased, because corruption is a “global” or a “third world” problem.

Of course corruption is universal, but we shouldn’t just through our hands up in the air and say, “everybody does it,” and willfully ignore where it is the biggest problem.  Any suggestion that there may be a correlation between such activity and religion or culture is immediately dismissed as “racist,” “Islamophobic,” etc.

But shouldn’t we at least look at the evidence?  Transparency International’s annual corruption index provides some insight.  Their list is based on “surveys and assessments [that] include questions related to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.”

Notice that of TI’s top 10 cleanest nations–those perceived to have the smallest levels of public corruption–nine are predominantly Christian while one, Singapore, is plurality Buddhist:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Denmark
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden
  5. Singapore
  6. Norway
  7. Netherlands
  8. Australia
  9. Switzerland
  10. Canada

Further notice that of the worst 10 countries, six are majority Muslim, with North Korea and Somalia coming in last out of 182 countries rated:

173.  Venezuela
174.  Haiti
175.  Iraq
176. Sudan
177. Turkmenistan
178. Uzbekistan
179. Afghanistan
180. Myanmar
181. North Korea
182. Somalia


  1. Although I don’t argue that corruption is rampant in the “Arab” world and not so much the “Muslim” world the issue here is a statistical error because of the large number of Muslims in the world it falls within statistical error that 60% of the bottom ten are corrupt. However, ur argument IS valid when we look at the least corrupt nations as being NON Arab or Muslim: that does raise a question. I site a parallel theme: the current corruption scandal in the Vatican; abuse of religious doctrine for private gains.

    • Thanks for your comments, Thurman, and good to “see” you on the blog side.

      I don’t think Transparency International’s analysis has much to do with population size, so I’m not sure I understand your comment that it’s “a statistical error because of the large number of Muslims in the world.” If it were population based I think you’d see China, India, and Brazil toward the bottom instead of Muslim Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan.

      I’m familiar with the allegations against the Vatican, but Vatican City isn’t ranked by TI. The purpose of citing Transparency International’s rankings is to focus on objective measures by an independent body, and it’s hard to assume where the Vatican would score.

  2. dont forget the history revealed that Europe that so called clean bribe have conquered the whealthy nation from muslim nations, that why you muslim nation fall under poverty and the population might used bribery (that supposed to be haram in islam) as one survival kit.

  3. There are widely known criticism of the CPI’s unfair measurement, for example; when “citizens’ experience of corruption was compared to CPI’s experts’ predictions.”
    *Source: Razafindrako & Roubaud, “How Far Can We Trust Expert Opinion on Corruption?“ In Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2005.

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