Yesterday I did a brief debunking of what basically was a press release for an upcoming exhibition at a science museum in Manchester, England. As it turns out, since I was pressed for time, I only looked up references to items that I knew offhand that existed before the creation of Islam, so I didn’t list coffee (which came from pre-historic Ethiopia), the Camera Oscura (used in China by the philosopher Mo-Ti in the 5th century BC), and rugs (the earliest of which, the Pazyryk Carpet found in Siberia, dates from the 5th century BC and was probably of Persian origin), which were in use in various parts of the ancient world. Jay.Mac of Criptic Subterranean did an item-by-item debunking that deserves to be read and sent to your friends.
To me, it’s absolutely shocking (and to a point, demoralizing) to see that a science museum or two – the exhibition will travel – is willing to go along with revisionist history, and that a major British newspaper posts it in its Science and Technology section, but that’s not the point of this post.
Also, I find it sad that so much weight is being given to these “inventions” (and I say “inventions” since most items on the list would best be described as discoveries), when the issue is not simply what Islam did a thousand years ago, but what it does now. As a friend said,
But what I find most Ironic is this: even if they were real, there is no pride in pointing to achievements a thousand years ago, because the social order that produced them is dead. All it shows is the cultural scope and grandeur of a civilization that a thousand years of Islam has managed to strangle and kill.
We believe in the faith charted for us by Allah, and believe that if someone is destined to die, he will die, even if he hides in a crate – but why shouldn’t we take the initiative and die as martyrs? There is an abyss between one form of dying and the other. So why shouldn’t we choose martyrdom? Allah has chosen us, from among all people, and has bestowed upon us the honor of Jihad in the front line of Palestine. So it is all the more fitting for us to initiate martyrdom, before death reaches us while we sit at home.
Um Nidal’s mindset negates man’s own nature to constructively strive, create, progress, and enjoy the fruits of one’s labors. It goes beyond that: when hate supplants heroism, God weeps.
The point of this post is, the “inventions” listed took place over a two-hundred year period that took place nearly a thousand years ago because, as Oriana Fallaci has stated,
Islam has always persecuted and silenced its intelligent men.
And its women, too.
It takes people of extraordinary courage to speak against Islam to Muslims, for instance Dr. Wafa Sultan. Dr. Sultan has gone on Al-Jazeera and stated very clearly, on two ocassions (both available at the MEMRI site),
The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.
Not as widely disseminated as the MEMRI videos, LGF has a radio interview with Dr. Sultan that you must listen to.
“This woman, at great personal risk, has decided to come forward not only in English but also in Arabic to discuss what’s wrong with Islam and the Muslim world, . . .She blames the mullahs and clerics for distorting the teachings of the Koran for 14 centuries and speaks about the anger and despair of fellow Muslims.”
Neo-Neocon sees Dr. Sultan as a “changer”,
My hunch is that something in this woman was already primed for a change, and the terrible incident only provided the spark. Granted, it was an especially dramatic and horrific event, and she witnessed it up close and personal, maximizing its impact. The nature of the incident itself–the murder of a professor, representing the forces of knowledge and science, by gunmen invoking the will of Allah–was both a personal tragedy and a metaphor for her present cause. Dr. Sultan, already a medical student at the time, probably had a special scientific and logical bent, as well as an interest in human behavior and motivation, and I imagine that these qualities provided at least part of the impetus for her resultant turn away from strict adherance and blind acceptance of all the tenets of her faith and towards intellectual freedom and the defense of human rights.
But even that doesn’t explain the mysteries of the human heart and mind, the wellsprings from which she draws her formidable bravery. My guess is that some of this is rooted in her relationship to her parents and siblings, and how they may have encouraged her independence of mind, and perhaps her husband as well (he seems to have been supportive right from the first).
And some people just seem to have a deeper integrity than others, and feel driven to speak out no matter what the personal consequences may be. They are heroes of a very special sort.
. . .
Dr. Sultan knows exactly and precisely what is happening here: she is declaring herself in front of the entire Al Jazeera audience in such a way as to be labeled a heretic and be placed under penalty of death. Her declaration of the Enlightenment creed of personal and religious freedom, “These are personal matters that do not concern you,” is one of the bravest acts I’ve ever seen.
Will she reach other Muslims? Or will her words be dismissed as coming from a woman, and a heretic?
The Religious Policeman is optimistic. So is Dr. Sultan.
Update: Jonathan David Carson clarifies some points on Medieval translators.
Update 2 Dymphna posts on the subject of arrogance.