Two weeks after 9/11, on September 26, 2001, Carly Fiorina gave a speech, “Technology, Business and Our Way of Life: What’s Next,” in which she tied courage, leadership, heroes, and “the questions of life and death” to business leaders learning from one of the greatest civilization to ever exist: Islamic civilization. Her claims evidence her exceptional ineptitude or blatant, galling, willful deceit.
Consider her claims about Islam and America. She says, America is “indebted” to the Islamic civilization, whose “gifts are very much a part of our heritage.”
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson would agree, in that they commissioned merchant marines, the Marine Corp, and the Navy to defend America from Islamic invaders.
Consider her claims about the Ottoman Empire:
- “When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.”
- Under Suleiman three continents were “allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known.” And, the “Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent … contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.”
- The Ottoman Empire “was driven more than anything, by invention. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption.”
- And: America’s technology industry “would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians.”
The Spartans, Leon Battista Alberti, and Thomas Jefferson were the inventors of encryption; and they weren’t Islamists.
Charles Babbage, an English mathematician, philosopher, mechanical engineer, and scientist originated the concept of a programmable computer in 1822, which he built upon in 1837. He also designed a printer.
Centuries earlier, in 1597, Galileo invented and established a factory that constructed instruments to perform trigonometric calculations, multiplication and division, square and cube root, comparison of areas and volumes, currency exchange rates, monetary interest, and various military problems.
Neither Babbage nor Galileo were Islamists.
Where did Carly come up with this nonsense—from talking to Aladdin on a magical carpet ride? Her claims top even the mystical fantasies of The Arabian Nights.
For the truth, however, Islamabad writer Dr. Farrukh Saleem pointed out in 2005 indisputable facts about the Islamic world.
Today, the 57 Islamic countries are the world’s poorest and most illiterate:
- The GDP of 57 Muslim countries is less than $2 trillion;
- Muslims comprise roughly 22 percent of the world’s population but only produce less than 5 percent of global GDP;
- 20 percent of Arabs live on less than $2 per day;
- The average growth rate of per capita income in the Arab world hovers around .5 percent per year [worse than everywhere else except for sub-Saharan Africa];
- 60 percent of Muslims worldwide are illiterate;
- 50 percent of Arab women cannot read.
Dr. Javaid Laghari adds that 40 percent of the Muslim states’ population falls below the poverty line.
Today, the 57 Islamic countries contribute the least to scientific and technological advancement, let alone have computers or use the Internet. Saleem points out that over a period of more than 105 years, only two (2) Muslims won the Nobel Peace Prize. (They studied Physics and Chemistry in Italy, the U.K., and California). Only eight (8) Muslims are Nobel Laureates.
Shouldn’t a leader of Hewlett-Packard have known at the time of her speech that of the entire Arab population, only:
- 1 percent has a personal computer—and;
- .5 percent uses the Internet.
To reiterate the facts, the 57 Islamic countries are the world’s poorest, most illiterate, and contribute the least to scientific and technological advancement, let alone have computers or use the Internet.
Yet—this future—represented by the achievements of Islamic civilizations, is what Carly suggested should be America’s hope. Two weeks after 9/11.
A former CEO who “created a larger company with more debt,” laid off 30,000 employees, expanded Hewlett-Packard’s outsourcing while not offering a solution to reverse America’s trade deficit, pointed to poverty and illiteracy as the source of America’s hope.
Worse still, what business leader, or any leader for that matter, would point to the very civilization as an example of America’s hope, which had just attacked it two weeks earlier?
Politics, historical facts, and leadership aside, on the matter of “life and death,” which she mentions—for 9/11 survivors—like myself—or the few Christians who have survived genocide in 57 Islamic countries and violence throughout Europe, or kidnapped and trafficked little girls, Carly’s remarks could not be more offensive.
Perhaps she should move to Saudi Arabia where women are prohibited from driving; or Iran, where women are prohibited from working.
Her speech 14 years ago only reveals that Carly has been flying on a mystical magical carpet to nowhere for years.