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True enough?

Reader comment on item: Islam in Obama's Cairo Speech

Submitted by Noach Stern (Australia), Jul 2, 2009 at 08:34

[quote: Obama] "As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam—at places like Al-Azhar—that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed."

[quote: Daniel Pipes] True enough, but it's also true that these advances took place about a millennium ago since

Not only that, surely, but also the implication of words like "innovation", "developed", "mastery", "tools", "understanding", "disease .. and how it can be healed" together suggest a greater force in innovation (and correspondingly, a lesser emphasis on borrowing), and a superior pride-of-place for carrying the "the light of learning through so many centuries" and in a foundational role in "paving the way" - than what can be historically confirmed.

The lapse into a mlllennium of non-development was not merely a backsliding, but an expression of a continuous lack of interest in all the foregoing heroic cultural, technological, and scientific "achievements". Absent generally from these "true enough" claims is the role of Byzantium in bridging the early Church, Greece, and Rome with the Renaissance. Islamic culture did not "achieve" the same degree of connection or transmission, notwithstanding the brilliance of the scholar whose name we know through algebra.

So, how is all this "true enough"?

Yours etc

Submitting....

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