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Islam and Christianity need to be seen in the right timeframe

Reader comment on item: Spreading Islam in American Public Schools

Submitted by Trygve Inda (United Arab Emirates), Apr 18, 2005 at 15:14

While I have not read "History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond", I would like to address the comment that "Christians are trounced and portrayed as murderers of the Muslim and Jewish people".

During the historical period in which the book takes place, Christian armies were by and large running amok in the "Holy Land" killing non-Christians in their many Crusades.

Likewise, while progress in Christian Europe was stalled in the Dark Ages, the Islamic World was experiencing its finest hour and was making great "achievements in architecture, education, science, geography, mathematics, medicine, literature, art and music ". As to ruling "benevolently over the Jewish and Christian people", the Christians under the Moors certainly fared better than the unfortunate victims of the Crusades or the Inquisition. Of course, as one moves forward several centuries, conditions in the world change, but in the proper historical context, how is this not accurate?

White goes on to say that "Michael H. Hart's top 100 list of the most influential people in the history of the world was presented to teach that Muhammad was #1, Sir Isaac Newton was #2 and Jesus was #3."... Certainly Mr Hart is entitled to his opinion and such a list would undoubtedly lead to a worthy classroom discussion on the merits of his list (people in the US are still taught to think for themselves, right?).

While I don't agree that public schools should be teaching students how to pray (regardless of religion), teaching about Islamic civilization and the personalities that sparked it can only be a positive thing. Without such education, Americans will remain largely ignorant of the non-Western world.

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