An annual list of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims has appeared and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the man who made Turkey’s “Muslim democracy” a model for many Arab Spring protesters, did not win the top spot. Not #2 either. Erdogan came in at #3, a notch down from his 2010 ranking as number two.
The Muslim 500: The 500 Most Influential Muslims 2011, the third list in this series started in 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, named Saudi Arabian King Abdullah as the #1 Muslim in the world and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI as #2. It said the Arab Spring had had no impact on Abdullah’s influence, had boosted Mohammed’s and had no effect on Erdogan’s. Fourth and fifth places in the list went to Jordan’s King Abdullah and Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei.
The list is available here as a PDF download or a hard copy to order. Give us your view on the “most influential Muslim of 2011” in the poll at the bottom of this post.
In this year of enormous change in the Arab world, I think Erdogan should have been #1. And it seems I’m not alone. In its 2011 Arab Public Opinion Poll published on Nov 21, the Brookings Institution in Washington wrote: “Turkey is the biggest winner of the Arab Spring. In the five countries polled, Turkey is seen to have played the ‘most constructive’ role in the Arab events. Its Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, is the most admired among world leaders and those who envision a new President for Egypt want the new President to look most like Erdogan. Egyptians want their country to look more like Turkey than any of the other Muslim, Arab and other choices provided.”