Islam: Civilising the World for 1300 years

Taj Mahal Agra India

I saw some racist graffiti scrawled on a wall in a Gent’’s loo the other day and it targeted some of my friends who happen to be Muslim.

It said “Islam: corrupting the weak minded for 1600 years.”

Now you might say I shouldn’t let you know what was written for fear offending others: but I say only by exploring the statement can we tackle misunderstandings.

And you have to admit that it is on the higher end of graffiti although I would have hyphenated weak-minded myself. And Islam has a history of 1300 years not 1600 as the door-scribbler claims.

But is it true? Has Islam corrupted people?

I think not!

Islam was instrumental in contributing to civilization and influencing European thought. Think of the early decades of Islam, where mosques acted as hubs for intellectual discourse and housed libraries full of books on religion, philosophy and science.

Or the Muslim surgeon Qasim al Zahrawi, ‘the father of surgery’ who invented surgical tools still used today, including the scalpel, the surgical needle and surgical scissors.

Or of the advances in the study of mathematics in the Islamic Golden age; particularly the development of algebra by al-Khwarizmi.

Not leaving out Islam’s contribution to the arts, astronomy, textiles, technology, physics, alchemy, literature and music.

You can read about all of these with a simple Google search.

For me, these don’t seem like corrupting influences at all. Rather they sound like the civilising effects of Islam.

Now that is not to say that religions are perfect; we only have to look under the surface of any ideology or faith group to find out that. And we know how certain groups will corrupt noble ideals for violent and ignoble purposes.

But in view of the contributions of Islam to the world, the graffiti writer’s claim looks silly. Perhaps as silly as the early critics who considered Christians to be cannibals because they ate “the body and blood of Christ”.

So Mr. Grafitti Artist, perhaps you might come out of your toilet cubicle and put your debate to real live human beings. Then we might get somewhere profitable and understand others a little better

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