Muslim community has failed as a community. It has not developed educationally, culturally, economically and politically when compared to other communities. The community is not apace with time and changes. This phenomenon is worldwide excepting a few examples.
But is there any introspection into this? Some give reasons but the Muslims do not agree to, and the Muslims themselves do have no clue into this. In absence of introspection, there seems to be no remedy in place and there seems no hope of change till far distance.
"Muslims suffer from a unique syndrome—move upward but silently"
It is important to note that there is no dearth of intellectuals among the Muslims but they are divided, basically in their approaches. On the basis of approaches, Muslim intellectuals can be divided into two types: one type is of that group which is silent on all issues. Such Muslims suffer from a unique syndrome—move upward but silently. They fear to talk about modern changes even though they may be following them to better their life. They change themselves but they do not talk on them much and in public. They do it silently.
For example they adopt family planning programs (to control population) but they do not have the courage to say in public that they have stopped child birth deliberately, prefer one-wife norm and have aversion to polygamy but they do not raise voice against those who go for it, educate their female children (as well as male children) and encourage them to take service or job but they do not fight against those who force their female children in seclusion or parda.
"they have reservation about whether modern changes have compatibility with their religion"
This group of silent Muslim intellectuals (SMIs) has given birth to the Muppies culture which is much in discussion nowadays and which is not behind on any front of progress. This shows that the Muslims understand that they have to change but they have reservation about whether modern changes have compatibility with their religion. So they fear they would be at the risk of rejection if they pronounce changes openly. Moreover, this chunk is too small and does not help to change the image of the entire community. However, their silence is not desired as it does not promote progress down the ladder of the society. Progress is not fast and does not impact all sections of the society.
"they seem to be sure that Islam is incompatible with modern changes"
Second type is of Muslim intellectuals gone awry, they go one step further and voice against Islam the religion. The reason behind such an attitude is that they seem to be sure that Islam is incompatible with modern changes just opposite of the SMIs who think modern changes incompatible with Islam. They think it is too hard to bring changes at the mass level in the Muslim community and so they should better dissociate from the mainstream Muslim community as early as possible.
"non-Muslims take them as the real intellectuals"
Voicing against a religion (Islam in this case) or a culture is an easiest art, it brings the persons in limelight in a flash and they do disassociate themselves from the community successfully. Unfortunately those who are non-Muslims take them as the real intellectuals. They think such Muslims are talking on the subject, which has not been much talked upon traditionally and so they need support to enjoy the freedom to say against, no matter what they say. And they buy such rebels and pamper them.
There are many examples of such Muslim intellectuals who vomited venom against Islam and earned name among the non-Muslims (though at the same time they became infamous within their own community). Salman Rushdie became famous for his mis-adventurous Satanic Verses, Taslima Nasrin for Lajja, and most recently A Hirsi Ali, a famous writer, has joined the same league—they all have time and again jumped into the subject which involved religious controversies. They were against the popular voice that the largest Muslim community holds to.
"They are the greatest marketers along with being intellectuals"
Can anyone say what good Salman Rushdie gave or did to the society? Or what people like Taslima Nasreen, and Hirsi Ali achieved as people like Amartya Sen and Muhammad Yunus achieved by doing good to the society. (Sen and Yunus have revolutionary ideas that are democratic and different from the convention). Yes they achieved one thing for sure: they all have secured their positions in their respective jobs. They are the greatest marketers along with being intellectuals.
"no religion on earth is compatible with modern changes"
It is high time that the Muslim community should introspect the reason of under development? It should adopt modern changes and progress on the same scale as other communities are doing. But the Muslim community seems scared of even discussing how to change the entire perspective. Somewhere the Muslims fail to understand that no religion on earth is compatible with modern changes yet other communities are progressing and that they are not in a position to accept that the modern changes need not be interpreted through religion all the time. In other words, religion should not be let define social, cultural, and political spheres of life.
"Muslims are the greatest sufferers from both the sides"
The Muslims need people like Asghar Ali Engineer, a promising reformist; M J Akbar, a famous journalist of par excellence; and Azim Premji, a business baron; in larger number. They need to be more proactive and should talk much on the social issues, progressive thoughts, and changes in the open to spread them to the common people. Perhaps the Muslims need greedily an Aurobindo Ghosh to re-interpret Islam, a Raja Ram Mohan Roy to re-define social changes, a Mahatma Gandhi to re-address politics, a Mustafa Kemal Pasha to ensure a secular administration; and not an Osama-bin-Laden or a Talibanic ideology which can do nothing but create a fear of terrorism, which in turn creates a sense of insecurity both for the Muslims and the non-Muslims; and the Muslims are the greatest sufferers from both the sides.