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Muslim innovations?

Reader comment on item: Assessing Obama's Cairo Speech

Submitted by Solomon Stavrov (Israel), Jun 4, 2009 at 11:59

Dear Mr. Taranto

I read the Cairo address of president Obama and was surprised to find out some things, which do not look as exactly correct. Please, find below some my comments.

I hope that they will be of interest for you

Best regards

Solomon

Excerpts from "President Obama Addresses Muslim World in Cairo" according to Washington Post with my comments in bold italic

It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation (compass was invented about 200 years before Christ in China. Chinese started to use it as a navigation tool not later than in the very beginning of 9-th century CE. The earliest European reference to compass comes in 1190, whereas in Arabic – in 1282); our mastery of pens and printing (the first printing press was invented in China in 6-th century CE, in the 8-th century Chinese had a newspaper, the earliest known book was printed in China in the second half of 9-th century CE); our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires (arches were invented much, much earlier than religion "of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings", look, for example, at Greek's and Roman's architecture); timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation (what about Greek's philosophers and Roman's artists. Probably, places of their contemplation were not peaceful enough for Barak the Historian?).

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims."

(USA were recognized by France in 1777, Holland 1782, Paris Treaty with UK was signed on 1783. The Treaty of Tripoli was a peace treaty with nations of Barbary Coast (Morocco, Algeria, Tripoli, Tunis). According to the treaty, the Barbary Coast pirates promised not to attack American merchant ships in Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. In return, the US delivered the payment for the treaty to the Barbary nations. The Treaty was broken by the Pasha of Tripoli over President Thomas Jefferson's refusal to pay the Pasha's demands for increased payments. The Treaty was renegotiated in 1805 after the First Barbary War. In 1815 the Second Barbary War happened).

May I ask: where did he learn all this stuff? I know that from some US windows one can watch Russia, but, to me, claiming that magnetic compass is Muslim innovation and the first nation to recognize the US was Morocco, is too much even for a lawyer.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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