Muslims Stack the Deck in Online Poll of World’s Top Public Intellectuals

Last month JBHE reported that three black scholars, including Princeton University’s K. Anthony Appiah, were nominated by the journal Foreign Policy as among the world’s most influential public intellectuals. A total of 100 individuals were nominated by the journal, and voting to select the top 20 was held on the Internet.

News of the Internet poll appeared on the front pages of several newspapers in the Middle East. Almost immediately votes poured in to the Foreign Policy web site for the Muslim intellectuals who were included in the list of 100 nominees. As a result, the top 10 vote-getters in the Foreign Policy poll are all Muslims. Voted the world’s top public intellectual was Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic scholar from Turkey. Most Americans have probably never heard his name.

The only black public intellectual who made the final list was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a native of Somalia and former member of the Dutch parliament. Ali was raised as a Muslim but is now a fervent critic of radical Islam.