I avoided writing anything about the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The media – both mainstream and blogs – had a glut of views, memories, and opinion pieces. And one of the things I noticed about these articles, reminded me of what happened in the immediate aftermath of 11th September 2001.
12th September was a day of confusion, shock, and inaction. A day of repeated viewings of the same images over and over in the 24-hour news cycle.
13th September, 10 years ago today, is when the vitriol poured forth. Anger is, famously, one of the five stages of grief. But anger should be targeted in the right direction. And too much anger was completely misdirected back then, and too much anger is still misdirected today.
Too many articles this weekend talked about ‘muslims’ when what they should have said was ‘terrorists’. And in 2001 it was exactly the same. Rhetoric about ‘going after the muslims’ began to prevail. Dangerous rhetoric full of misunderstandings and veiled threats. People with no knowledge of Islam talking about the world being a better place without Muslims. Talk that hadn’t been heard since Srebrenica. Dangerous talk. Very dangerous.
I’ve written here before about what Islam has given us. But I think the point bears repeating at this time, and in this place. Let’s try a little exercise. Below is a list. It’s a fairly simple list. Have a quick study of it now.
Crank-shaft, internal combustion engine, valves, pistons
Architectural innovation (pointed arch -European Gothic cathedrals adopted this technique as it made the building much stronger, rose windows, dome buildings, round towers, etc.)
Treatment of Cowpox
3 course meal (soup, meat/fish, fruit/nuts)
Gardens used for beauty and meditation instead of for herbs and kitchen.
Manufacturing of paper and cloth
Like I said, not a massive list. Now imagine your world with none of those things in it. They’re all Muslim inventions or creations. Every one of them comes from the Islamic world. As well as that, it was a Muslim who realized that light ENTERS our eyes, unlike the Greeks who thought we EMITTED rays, and so invented a camera from this discovery.
It was a Muslim who first tried to FLY in 852, even though it is the Wright Brothers who have taken the credit.
It was a Muslim by the name of Jabir ibn Hayyan who was known as the founder of modern Chemistry. He transformed alchemy into chemistry. He invented: distillation, purification, oxidation, evaporation, and filtration. He also discovered sulfuric and nitric acid.
It is a Muslim, by the name of Al-Jazari who is known as the father of robotics.
It was a Muslim who was the architect for Henry V’s castle.
It was a Muslim who invented hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes, a technique still used today.
It was a Muslim who actually discovered inoculation, not Jenner and Pasteur to treat cowpox. The West just brought it over from Turkey
It was Muslims who contributed much to mathematics like Algebra and Trigonometry, which was imported over to Europe 300 years later to Fibonnaci and the rest.
It was Muslims who discovered that the Earth was round 500 years before Galileo did.
The list goes on…
A world without Muslims would be a terrible loss to education, medicine, the sciences, the arts, culture, and the world in general. On the other hand, a world without terrorists would indeed be a better, happier place. To hold Islam responsible for the actions of a tiny group of people is just as bad as blaming Christianity for the actions of the Ku Klux Klan or Anders Brevik. Blaming 1.5 billion Muslims for the act of 19 men one sunny September morning is an act of insanity.
It scared me to see it then and it terrifies me to still see it today.