“Islamic Science” or Islamic Propaganda?

“Islamic Science” is Islamic Propaganda.

“Sultans of Science: Islamic Science Rediscovered”– claims “we welcome open debate” – but any criticism is unwelcome: if you don’t weigh your words carefully we will shut down any debate and report you to Facebook. Got it?

There is NO Muslim art, music or science, period. There never has been, there never will be. Because Islam is a regressive force; it does not give impetus, it retards.

Posted By Bruce Bawer On June 14, 2013 In FrontPage 

For years now, as we all know, newspapers, magazines, and book publishers around the Western world have shrunk from publishing texts that touch on some of the more uncomfortable truths about Islam, preferring instead to give us all but idyllic accounts of Muslim history and belief and hagiographies of its prophet. Similarly, film, TV, and theater producers have gotten into the habit of scrubbing scripts free of anything that might be considered critical of Islam, even as they’ve given the green light to one project after another that has done a thoroughgoing job of whitewashing the Religion of Peace.

Museums, too, have played this same timid game, quietly removing centuries-old images of Muhammed from display and putting them into storage for fear of offending believers. Meanwhile, museumgoers have been treated to shows that are sheer Islamic propaganda.

Last year, Nick Cohen wrote in the Observer about one such exhibition that was then on display at the British Museum. It professed to present an informed view of the history of the Hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca – going all the way back to Muhammed. But, as Cohen observed, the museum’s version of Muhammed’s life stuck to “the authorised version of ‘religious scholars,’” ignoring actual findings by real historians. It also excluded “evidence that might embarrass the Saudi royal family,” such as the fact that those royals have “wrecked Mecca,” destroying “the remnants of the 7th-century city.”

Why should the British Museum be so concerned about Saudi sensitivities? Simple: because a Saudi library was the museum’s partner in putting on the exhibition; because Saudi authorities had loaned key items to the show; and because financial sponsorship had been provided by (or through?) a bank that “issues sharia-compliant loans.”

The exhibition dropped other things down the memory hole, too. It included no mention of terrorist acts that have occurred during the Hajj. Nor did it acknowledge “the stampedes, bridge collapses and fires that have claimed the lives of thousands of pilgrims” year after year. When asked by Cohen about these major omissions, museum officials “waffled” that such details “did not fit into the exhibition’s remit.”

Cut to Oslo, Norway, a year later. Tomorrow, an exhibition entitled “Sultans of Science: Islamic Science Rediscovered” will open at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology (an independent institution, but one that receives considerable financial support from the Norwegian state). According to the museum, “Sultans of Science” is “the largest science exhibition that has ever been seen in Norway.” Although, over the last few years, it has been on display in venues “in New Jersey, South Africa, Toronto, Edmonton, San Jose, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia,” this marks its first appearance anywhere in Europe. “We are proud to bring this exhibition to Norway and delighted to unfold the knowledge of a great civilization which will be an engaging and educating experience for our visitors,” museum director Hans Weinberger said in a press release.

On its website, the museum invites adults and children alike to come see “Sultans of Science” and thus “get acquainted with an important scientific legacy from Islamic culture.” Singing the praises of “the golden age of Islamic science,” during which “science was encouraged and supported” by “the great Islamic caliphates,” the museum’s website informs us that “the development of European culture was…directly influenced by Islamic culture,” but that the traces of this influence were eventually, and tragically, “erased.” Simply put, the purpose of this show is to acquaint Western audiences with the riches of Islamic science and its immense impact on Western science and technology.

In short: a giant tsunami of propaganda is about to hit Norway.

Needless to say, there are two main points to be made whenever the words “Islam” and “science” come up. The first is that Islamic culture, like none other on earth, has proven to be a remarkably powerful impediment to the development of anything remotely deserving of the name of science. The second point, a corollary of the first, is that the relatively few worthy scientific discoveries and inventions for which Islamic cultures can take credit have occurred in spite of, and not because of, any identifiable “Islamic” influence.

To put it bluntly, you could count all the Muslim winners of Nobel Prizes in science on one hand and have enough fingers left to crochet. This simple, straightforward fact is, in and of itself, a dramatic indictment of Islam, underscoring its intrinsic intellectual backwardness, its refusal to compromise in the slightest its foundation of primitive superstition, and the extraordinary degree to which it manages to suppress the inborn human curiosity about the natural principles that undergird the real world’s workings. But the whole aim of “Sultans of Science” is plainly to suggest precisely the opposite – not only that Islam and science can productively coexist, but that Islam, in all its wondrous glory, has ever since its beginnings proven to be rich and fertile soil for the flowering of scientific ideas and technological innovation.

Who’s behind this boatload of B.S.? Was it put together, as most traveling museum exhibitions are, by a legitimate museum of international standing? Was it curated by a respected, credentialed historian of science? Well, no. Officially anyway, the exhibition was created, and is sponsored, by an outfit called MTE Studios, which describes itself as “a specialized consultancy firm focused on themed architecture and interactive learning experiences.” Indeed, “Sultans of Science” is said to be the “traveling version” of an exhibition that is on permanent display in a mall in Dubai and that MTE put together in partnership with an institution called the Research House for Islamic Studies & Heritage Revival. (The website of the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, by the way, links to an MTE press release that, making even great claims for Islamic science than does the museum’s own website, refers to “the remarkable achievements of Muslim civilization” and promises that Europeans who drop in on “Sultans of Science” will “be amazed to learn about the significant role the Islamic scholars have played in modern science, from astronomy to medicine to engineering to navigation and optics.”)

What’s the deal with MTE Studios? Based in both Dubai and Capetown, South Africa, it seems to enjoy a very close working relationship with a number of Muslim governments. For example, it runs the Bahrain Science Centre on behalf of the Bahraini state. It represented the United Arab Emirates at a 2010 conference in Malaysia on Islamic science. And it was commissioned by the Saudis to create a museum of Islamic science and technology at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology – a museum that would appear to be a model, more or less, for both the Dubai mall installation and the much-traveled international exhibition that is about to open in Oslo. Indeed, this would appear to be only one of a number of projects (including something called the “BUILD A CITY” Activity Zone at the Riyadh Science Oasis) on which MTE would appear to have collaborated intimately with the Saudis. Make of that connection what you will.

Mischievous disinformation about history on a massive scale is always unsettling. But here’s the most disturbing part of this particular story. A few Norwegians who are, presumably, aware of the exceedingly small overlap betweep the history of Islam and the history of science, and/or understandably troubled about MTE’s Saudi and other ties, and/or curious (also understandably) to know exactly who is paying for this very expensive-sounding exhibition, have posted polite and reasonable questions at the Facebook page of the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology. But their queries have met with something less than a friendly and responsive welcome from the museum – an institution that is nominally devoted, after all, to knowledge and learning. On the contrary, on Wednesday afternoon, in what is certainly a first in my own Facebook experience, the museum posted a stern statement on its Facebook page that reads as follows:

We are now closing the page for the day [yes, “closing the page”!], but it will open again tomorrow, Thursday, at 9 A.M. Hold on to your comments until then. If this page is spammed in the meanwhile, or if anyone engages in unfair debates or propaganda, these comments will be removed from the page and those responsible will be reported to Facebook. We want to have an open debate, in which there is room for more people! So weigh your words – and have a peaceful afternoon and evening.

Note, if you will, that blatant Orwellian contradiction between the museum’s claim to welcome “open debate” and its threat to shut down any debate it doesn’t care for. And note, too, the hint of menace in that injunction to “weigh your words.” Here’s a screen capture of this odious posting:


In other words, a major Norwegian museum is threatening to report to Facebook anyone who dares to express concern about (among other things) its eager and unquestioning involvement in the dissemination of shameless Islamic propaganda, its partnership with a firm whose strongest ties are with Islamic dictatorships, and the possibility that it has had unsavory financial dealings with the most repellent of all those dictatorships.

When I checked the museum’s Facebook page on Thursday evening, I found only one exchange that touched on such questions. Addressing a reader’s question as to whether the exhibition is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, the museum employee who responded insisted that “the exhibition is self-financed” (whatever that is supposed to mean) and referred to MTE as the show’s “producer” (a somewhat odd way to refer to the people who put together a museum exhibition). As a friend of mine pointed out, since the present exhibition is apparently, at the very least, based in large part on one that was created on commission for Saudi Arabia, and is essentiallly identical to another exhibition that is currently on display at a mall in Dubai, it doesn’t really matter whether or not the Saudis are direct sponsors of this show or whether the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology has received cash or any other form of direct or indirect support from them or the United Arab Emirates or anyone else; the fact is that the show in Oslo is, to all intents and purposes, the product of Saudi and Emirate propaganda funding.

Somebody on Facebook had the following to say about this vexing situation: “A public institution that threatens to report critics to Facebook administrators…that’s something I never would have thought possible in Norway.” Well, we’d all better get used to it – or start making a lot of noise about this nasty business in other public fora before they get closed down, too.

The decline of the so-called ‘Golden age’ of Islam coincides exactly with the decline of the dhimmi communities within. Once the depredations of dhimmitude took their toll on generation after generation and the subject peoples began to convert to Islam in large numbers in order to escape their fate, the Jizyah dried up….as did the economic, cultural and intellectual dynamism of the Caliphate. It was the toil and the advanced culture of the dhimmis that kept the empire dynamic, and when that culture disappeared, the Caliphate went into decline. Look for the same exact thing to occur as the Muslims re-make Europe.

This letter was sent to Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett Packard Corporation, in response to a speech given by her on September 26, 2001.

What Arab Civilization?

November 7, 2001

Carly Fiorina
3000 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1185

Dear Madame Fiorina:

It is with great interest that I read your speech delivered on September 26, 2001, titled “Technology, Business and Our way of Life: What’s Next” [sic]. I was particularly interested in the story you told at the end of your speech, about the Arab/Muslim civilization. As an Assyrian, a non-Arab, Christian native of the Middle East, whose ancestors reach back to 5000 B.C., I wish to clarify some points you made in this little story, and to alert you to the dangers of unwittingly being drawn into the Arabist/Islamist ideology, which seeks to assimilate all cultures and religions into the Arab/Islamic fold.

I know you are a very busy woman, but please find ten minutes to read what follows, as it is a perspective that you will not likely get from anywhere else. I will answer some of the specific points you made in your speech, then conclude with a brief perspective on this Arabist/Islamist ideology.

Arabs and Muslims appeared on the world scene in 630 A.D., when the armies of Muhammad began their conquest of the Middle East. We should be very clear that this was a military conquest, not a missionary enterprise, and through the use of force, authorized by a declaration of a Jihad against infidels, Arabs/Muslims were able to forcibly convert and assimilate non-Arabs and non-Mulsims into their fold. Very few indigenous communities of the Middle East survived this — primarily Assyrians, Jews, Armenians and Coptics (of Egypt).

Having conquered the Middle East, Arabs placed these communities under a Dhimmi (see the book Dhimmi, by Bat Ye’Or) system of governance, where the communities were allowed to rule themselves as religious minorities (Christians, Jews and Zoroastrian). These communities had to pay a tax (called a Jizzya in Arabic) that was, in effect, a penalty for being non-Muslim, and that was typically 80% in times of tolerance and up to 150% in times of oppression. This tax forced many of these communities to convert to Islam, as it was designed to do.

You state, “its architects designed buildings that defied gravity.” I am not sure what you are referring to, but if you are referring to domes and arches, the fundamental architectural breakthrough of using a parabolic shape instead of a spherical shape for these structures was made by the Assyrians more than 1300 years earlier, as evidenced by their archaeological record.

You state, “its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption.” The fundamental basis of modern mathematics had been laid down not hundreds but thousands of years before by Assyrians and Babylonians, who already knew of the concept of zero, of the Pythagorean Theorem, and of many, many other developments expropriated by Arabs/Muslims (see History of Babylonian Mathematics, Neugebauer).

You state, “its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease.” The overwhelming majority of these doctors (99%) were Assyrians. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries Assyrians began a systematic translation of the Greek body of knowledge into Assyrian. At first they concentrated on the religious works but then quickly moved to science, philosophy and medicine. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen, and many others were translated into Assyrian, and from Assyrian into Arabic. It is these Arabic translations which the Moors brought with them into Spain, and which the Spaniards translated into Latin and spread throughout Europe, thus igniting the European Renaissance.

By the sixth century A.D., Assyrians had begun exporting back to Byzantia their own works on science, philosophy and medicine. In the field of medicine, the Bakhteesho Assyrian family produced nine generations of physicians, and founded the great medical school at Gundeshapur (Iran). Also in the area of medicine, (the Assyrian) Hunayn ibn-Ishaq’s textbook on ophthalmology, written in 950 A.D., remained the authoritative source on the subject until 1800 A.D.

In the area of philosophy, the Assyrian philosopher Job of Edessa developed a physical theory of the universe, in the Assyrian language, that rivaled Aristotle’s theory, and that sought to replace matter with forces (a theory that anticipated some ideas in quantum mechanics, such as the spontaneous creation and destruction of matter that occurs in the quantum vacuum).

One of the greatest Assyrian achievements of the fourth century was the founding of the first university in the world, the School of Nisibis, which had three departments, theology, philosophy and medicine, and which became a magnet and center of intellectual development in the Middle East. The statutes of the School of Nisibis, which have been preserved, later became the model upon which the first Italian university was based (see The Statutes of the School of Nisibis, by Arthur Voobus).

When Arabs and Islam swept through the Middle East in 630 A.D., they encountered 600 years of Assyrian Christian civilization, with a rich heritage, a highly developed culture, and advanced learning institutions. It is this civilization that became the foundation of the Arab civilization.

You state, “Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.” This is a bit melodramatic. In fact, the astronomers you refer to were not Arabs but Chaldeans and Babylonians (of present day south-Iraq), who for millennia were known as astronomers and astrologers, and who were forcibly Arabized and Islamized — so rapidly that by 750 A.D. they had disappeared completely.

You state, “its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.” There is very little literature in the Arabic language that comes from this period you are referring to (the Koran is the only significant piece of literature), whereas the literary output of the Assyrians and Jews was vast. The third largest corpus of Christian writing, after Latin and Greek, is by the Assyrians in the Assyrian language (also called Syriac; see here.)

You state, “when other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.” This is a very important issue you raise, and it goes to the heart of the matter of what Arab/Islamic civilization represents. I reviewed a book titled How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs, in which the author lists the significant translators and interpreters of Greek science. Of the 22 scholars listed, 20 were Assyrians, 1 was Persian and 1 an Arab. I state at the end of my review: “The salient conclusion which can be drawn from O’Leary’s book is that Assyrians played a significant role in the shaping of the Islamic world via the Greek corpus of knowledge. If this is so, one must then ask the question, what happened to the Christian communities which made them lose this great intellectual enterprise which they had established. One can ask this same question of the Arabs. Sadly, O’Leary’s book does not answer this question, and we must look elsewhere for the answer.” I did not answer this question I posed in the review because it was not the place to answer it, but the answer is very clear, the Christian Assyrian community was drained of its population through forced conversion to Islam (by the Jizzya), and once the community had dwindled below a critical threshold, it ceased producing the scholars that were the intellectual driving force of the Islamic civilization, and that is when the so called “Golden Age of Islam” came to an end (about 850 A.D.).

Islam the religion itself was significantly molded by Assyrians and Jews (see Nestorian Influence on Islam and Hagarism: the Making of the Islamic World).

Arab/Islamic civilization is not a progressive force, it is a regressive force; it does not give impetus, it retards. The great civilization you describe was not an Arab/Muslim accomplishment, it was an Assyrian accomplishment that Arabs expropriated and subsequently lost when they drained, through the forced conversion of Assyrians to Islam, the source of the intellectual vitality that propelled it. What other Arab/Muslim civilization has risen since? What other Arab/Muslim successes can we cite?

You state, “and perhaps we can learn a lesson from his [Suleiman] example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.” In fact, the Ottomans were extremely oppressive to non-Muslims. For example, young Christian boys were forcefully taken from their families, usually at the age of 8-10, and inducted into the Janissaries, (yeniceri in Turkish) where they were Islamized and made to fight for the Ottoman state. What literary, artistic or scientific achievements of the Ottomans can we point to? We can, on the other hand, point to the genocide of 750,000 Assyrians, 1.5 million Armenians and 400,000 Greeks in World War One by the Kemalist “Young Turk” government. This is the true face of Islam.

Arabs/Muslims are engaged in an explicit campaign of destruction and expropriation of cultures and communities, identities and ideas. Wherever Arab/Muslim civilization encounters a non-Arab/Muslim one, it attempts to destroy it (as the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan were destroyed, as Persepolis was destroyed by the Ayotollah Khomeini). This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago, and is amply substantiated by the historical record. If the “foreign” culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and revisionist historians claim that it is and was Arab, as is the case of most of the Arab “accomplishments” you cited in your speech. For example, Arab history texts in the Middle East teach that Assyrians were Arabs, a fact that no reputable scholar would assert, and that no living Assyrian would accept. Assyrians first settled Nineveh, one of the major Assyrian cities, in 5000 B.C., which is 5630 years before Arabs came into that area. Even the word ‘Arab’ is an Assyrian word, meaning “Westerner” (the first written reference to Arabs was by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, 800 B.C., in which he tells of conquering the “ma’rabayeh” — Westerners. See The Might That Was Assyria, by H. W. F. Saggs).

Even in America this Arabization policy continues. On October 27th a coalition of seven Assyrian and Maronite organizations sent an official letter to the Arab American Institute asking it to stop identifying Assyrians and Maronites as Arabs, which it had been deliberately doing.

There are minorities and nations struggling for survival in the Arab/Muslim ocean of the Middle East and Africa (Assyrians, Armenians, Coptics, Jews, southern Sudanese, Ethiopians, Nigerians…), and we must be very sensitive not to unwittingly and inadvertently support Islamic fascism and Arab Imperialism, with their attempts to wipe out all other cultures, religions and civilizations. It is incumbent upon each one of us to do our homework and research when making statements and speeches about these sensitive matters.

I hope you found this information enlightening. For more information, refer to the web links below. You may contact me at keepa@ninevehsoft.com for further questions.

Thank you for your consideration.

Peter BetBasoo

Web resources:

Brief History of Assyrians
Assyrian International News Agency
Assyrian American National Federation
Assyrian Academic Society
Zinda Magazine
Beth Suryoyo
Nineveh Online
World Maronite Union
Maronite Research Council
World Lebanese Organization
Coptic Web

One thought on ““Islamic Science” or Islamic Propaganda?”

  1. Pretty darn entertaining and courageous blog.. I for one have been railed and de-railed over my strong views on the dangers of advancing terrorism in the name of “Peaceful co-existence”. I have read, researched, listen and weighed the evidence and nowhere can I find redeeming values in this culture. They seem to thrive on oppression. Yes, I know some Muslims ARE peaceful. But they (and wee) are running scared. Christian-bashing is a great sport these days… but we can never put Islam, Muslim, Terrorism in the same sentence..

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