FED on an almost daily diet of images and reports of Muslims setting fire to things; blowing stuff up (except when they accidentally lock themselves up in a lavatory); and elevating the Noble Art of Whingeing to hitherto unreached heights, we have been blinded to the fact that we owe a great deal to the Religion of Shining Innovation.
And, as we speak, in Saudi Arabia fashion designers, we believe, are putting their heads together in a bid to meet the challenge of creating a one-eyed veil – the brainchild of some far-sighted mullah. This is not as easy as it sounds. Is a hole to be made for the left or the right eye? Or should it be in the middle, thus enabling the wearer to adjust it to suit the better eye on occasions when sight is required.?
But, thanks to British Schools Minister Jim Knight, the veil – as it were – has been lifted. We now know that without the inspiration of Islam we wouldn’t have things like carpets, fountain pens, windmills, coffee, gardens, three-course meals, pointy arches – oh, and parachutes.
Knight, according the Telegraph, wants to rid us of our foolish misconceptions by having children taught about the contribution Muslims have made to civilisation. This, he thinks, will combat the threats of extremism and discrimination.
Knight claimed lessons in the scientific and cultural innovations of Islam over the centuries would give young Muslims a sense of worth and reduce their risk of becoming alienated and falling under the spell of radicals.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of an exhibition in Parliament about Islamic innovations, which has been developed by The Foundation for Science, Technology and CivilisationÂ – an education group dedicated to improving knowledge about Muslim history in Britain.
Here is a project that brings together science, history, RE, citizenship and community cohesion – some of the most pressing problems for me as the minister responsible for the curriculum. One of the major reasons for the alienation of British Muslims is a lack of clear identity. This can leave them vulnerable to messages from extremists.
This offers a whole series of remedies and an education for the rest of us. It is very important for the whole country to understand the hugely positive impact that Islamic inventors have had upon the world, and for Muslims to take pride in it.
Salim Al-Hassani, the honorary chairman of FSTC, added:
At present there is a widespread misconception among many people worldwide that the state of science and technology during the period known as The Dark Ages was that of stagnation and decline. Learned intellectuals are challenging this myth and showing how, during the same period, the Muslim civilisation flourished and contributed to thousands of essential inventions that still affect our daily life.
Note: See other Jesus and Mo cartoons here.