The most prestigious science research competition for US high school seniors is Intel Science Talent Search. Within the lists of 300 semifinalists for each year (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014), there are 49, 56, 46, 60, and 62 names of high school students of Hindu-American community respectively. There are many more from Chinese community among the semi-finalists. However, there are only 1, 3, 5, 3, and 4 Muslim sounding names in the list of Intel Science Talent Search Semi-finalists during the same period. This year in Presidentâ€™s scholarship scholars for Arts, there is not a single Muslim student.
These figures are quite revealing. If we are not competitive in science and arts we should be prepared to play a secondary role in the emerging new world. Excellence is the essence of a Muslim life. It is not built around mediocrity. Yet, it is this mediocrity that has dominated our community life. The US offers an excellent opportunity to students regardless of their background to out-excel each other in the competitive world. It opens all the avenues for them to walk to the destination of excellence. Yet, if we remain lethargic to these opportunities, we do not have to blame anyone but ourselves.
We must understand that as Muslims our struggle is to achieve excellence in whatever field humanity needs our services, be it medicine, engineering, social work or arts and humanities. This is called true jihad. Only when we show our real intellectual mettle to people will we be appreciated for our contributions, otherwise we will remain dependent upon others for own survival. We must also understand that the Divine guidance should inspire us to explore the world created for all of us and make it as good as we can. Every knowledge that benefits human beings is Divinely guided.
We have thousands of talented young men and women who must be encouraged through our religious institutions to move forward in every field of work–and give their best in that field for the betterment of humanity.