Image 1 of 10: Brunei - officially the Nation of Brunei Darussalam, is peaceful and knows it. Going as the Abode of Peace, this plucky kingdom preserves tranquility alongside modernization. The tiny population are anything but militant: 'gentle,' promoting a culture of 'decorum and hospitality', Islam is the mainstay of this utopia. Sound like heaven?
Image 1 of 10: Oman-- No stranger to peace short-lists, this Gulf Sultanate ranks most secure and peaceful country in the MENA region (blowing the blustery competition out of its serene waters). A jewel on the Arabian peninsula and ‘an oasis of peace and prosperity’ it is a haven for swimmers & sea turtles. It tried finding its Arab Spring but faltered.
Image 1 of 10: The United Arab Emirates - with Dubai as the new playground of the war-torn Middle East- is known for its stability and sophisticated economy that renders it ripe for rapid development. Abu Dhabi - its capital- just this week scored in the top 5 for best world cities to live in. The UAE also flirted with the Arab Spring but gained no traction.
Image 1 of 10: Malaysia boasts tolerance as a model of communal relationships -a secular state with Islam as its official religion. With its sky-scrapers, seashores, simplicity and wild-life sanctuaries, this coveted holiday destination grants visa-free access for many Arab nationals! Holidaymakers adopt it as a byword for paradise.
Image 1 of 10: Maldive Islands - this holiday haven in the Indian Ocean is quite stridently Islamic, yet the tourists flock to enjoy the natural beauty of the best recreational diving destination in the world. Since 2009 they can frequent the ‘native’ islands (where booze, porn & pork are banned) as well as the freer resorts to which they were confined prior.
Image 1 of 10: Christened the Gem of the Caucasus, Azerbaijan is a majority Shia Muslim secular state. Wealthy from crude oil and gas reserves, Azerbaijan is a safe nation with the ambitions of a prosperous peacemaker to prove it as well as keep it off the warzone map. Capital Baku is building a (Muslim) Disney Land and hosting the 1st European Olympic Games.
Image 1 of 10: Billed the safe haven Kingdom, Jordan is so politically dry (with parliamentary elections prolific as Turkish soaps) that it has unofficially been smeared the Hashemite Kingdom of boredom. Yet it has shrewdly kept the peace in a region stoking conflict - and bigger-hearted than it is bland, housing scores of refugees, its serenity is unwavering.
Image 1 of 10: Mayotte - estranged from the Comoros collective - gets the peace stamp of approval, denied the volcanic hotbed of coups and political eruptions of the Comorian 'world's most unstable country'. A French Department, citizens are safe in its white sandy shores, but it's not all plain sailing as tourists find it pricey and teeming with French expats.
Image 1 of 10: In spite of a protracted but peaceful conflict over Western Sahara’s independence, and a quietly quashed Arab Spring, Morocco still makes it into our Muslim peace index. King Mohammad VI donned his progressive cloak and dodged the fate of his neighbor, maintaining peace & calm. Popular by hippies and tourists for its colorful charm and character.
Image 1 of 10: Mauritius - This peaceful paradise is no longer a well-kept secret, ever since the world took to honeymooning there - but what might be less known about this tranquil treasure is that Islam is the 2nd biggest religious group in this diverse & tolerant model community. Muslims of Mauritius - all 16% - live in perfect harmony with other faiths.
At a critical time charged with war-fever - when the majority Muslim Middle East is spoiling for a fight, we have mined the globe's remote realms untapped by Muslim mayhem. While everybody and their aunty are ramping up the rhetoric for regional war, and the U.S. is on the cusp of spurring the Syrian crisis by wading in, we cast a faint light in the direction of the peaceful part of the planet where Islam abounds and calm rules the roost over Muslim militancy and Islam-inspired war-mongering.
Contrary to common perception, there are Muslim pockets near and far-flung that remain unspoilt by man-made wars and conflict. There are entire Islamic nations untroubled by prospects of tear-gas, missiles and suicide blasts and apolitical Muslim populations unthreatened by Jihadist fronts and militant cells.
Some of these serene spots are already on the map for honeymooners or nature enthusiasts and eco-warriors or (more peacefully put) eco-tourists. Others are off the radar from the rabble, remaining more obscure as well-kept secrets, even from the most intrepid trekker.
Our country candidates have been screened and monitoried for past conficts as well as present protests and real-time war-risk, and still others have been disqualified for instability and violence or even violations of human rights.
It may come as no surprise but there is a positive correlation between tourism and peace! And Islamic populations are no exception. Peruse our panel of peace - across the Muslim majority corners of calm from East to West.