The basic reason why the populations of Islamic countries in the Middle East have little hope of improving their way of life for many decades to come is that their religious leaders are increasingly opposing Western science as a whole (although supportive of military technology). They’ve actually been doing this for two or three centuries or more, but it is now becoming rampant. Even imams in Western mosques dare not support Darwinism in their Friday sermons for fear of being hounded out of office.
The fact is that Darwinian evolution is not, as it were, a quaint (and slightly old-fashioned) sub-set in the history of science but the very basis of the fastest-growing area of science today — biology. Continuing progress within the fields of medicine, neurophysiology, agriculture, education and human behaviour has no chance at all without evolutionary genetics as the explanatory key and the basis of all experimentation and subsequent development. And it is in these fields, rather than yet more of the consumer goods and mass entertainments of the last 300 years, that economic growth in the Western countries has a chance of resuming.
There are many Muslims — even biologists — in the Islamic world who know this, but they’re in a very small minority — microscopic even — within their countries. Goodness knows when they’ll ever be allowed to practise more freely and also to influence public opinion. If politicians in the Western countries genuinely want to bring the Islamic countries out of medievalism then they ought to be applying themselves as to how to encourage science education in those countries and not in fanning the flames of social protest, when they occur, with abstract notions such as ‘democracy’ — procedures which, even now, are still pretty fragile in the West.