I recently was sent a link on YouTube by a friend of mine who wanted my opinion of a video he’d seen of a young Muslim man, Mohammed, from the Muslim American Society – New Jersey Chapter. Mohammed was doing his best to assert his Islamic pride while at the same time introducing Islam as a welcome norm for the West to get used to (it seemed for an American audience in particular). He spent the first part of the video doing his best to dispel stereotypes. Fair enough. Good on him. I have no problem with that. Kudos!
Then Mohammed tries to give us a fake history lesson. Straight out of the propaganda style book.
If you don’t have much of a background in history you just might buy into this guy’s cheerleading tactics. C’mon, Mohammed seemed like a nice enough, normal kind of guy. The video was okay when he was just simply telling us what he personally believed in. Hey, we all have personal beliefs. But then he started getting into a chant, or a rant, I am not sure which, in the middle of the video when he gets into this swell of pride over a false history. Man, I just hate that kind of thing to tell the truth. (I mean, for instance, didn’t many cultures more ancient than Islamic tradition as well as less ancient than Islamic tradition also create great architecture?)
So you have a reference for the rest of the post, I supply the video below:
Now let’s skip to the part where young Mohammed (I know this is late in the post but I hope I got his variation of spelling correct – if no, my apologies) starts to name the litany of Arab (Arab, not Muslim per se – though Mohammed claims them all for “Muslims”) achievements. (Please note that I am paraphrasing Mohammed’s assertions so that it makes sense in the context. Also, for a point of reference, Mohammed’s prophet, Mohammed, was born around 570 AD – nearly six hundred years after Jesus Christ. Keep that in mind when I give you the below assertions.)
“We invented astronomy…
I am sorry, Mohammed, but you Muslims did not invent astronomy. Let me ask you, what about Stonehenge, which roughly predates Islam by about 3700 years? What about early Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Babylonian, Chaldean) astronomy? Greek? Egyptian? Mayan? Persian? Incan? Indian? Nubian? Aztec? Even Chinese astronomy predates the birth of your prophet Mohammed by 1700 years. I beg very much to differ on this point.
“We invented calligraphy…”
Wrong again my friend! Hindu calligraphers were already carving calligraphy into stone about 300 BC 0r nearly 900 years before Mohammed was even born. Imperial Chinese calligraphy began about 100 years later but it was descendent from ancient Chinese calligraphy which no one has really been able to trace its origins because it is so damned old. But let’s not even talk about these Eastern traditions. Let’s move west closer to were the Arab culture comes from. Phoenician calligraphy predates Islam. Etruscan calligraphy predates Islam. Greek calligraphy predates Islam. Roman (Latin) calligraphy, which was a late comer to this group, can be traced to 600 BC – about 1200 years before Mohammed was even born!
“We invented geometry…”
The earliest recorded beginnings of geometry can be traced to ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley from around 3000 BC, oh, say about thirty-six centuries before Mohammed was born. The earliest known texts on geometry are the Egyptian Rhind Papyrus and Moscow Papyrus, the Babylonian clay tablets, and the Indian Shulba Sutras, while the Chinese had the work of Mozi, Zhang Heng, and the Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, edited by Liu Hui. Euclid’s classic Elements was written around 300 BC, nine tenths of a millennium before Mohammed was born. Need I go on here or do you get the point?
“We invented algebra…”
Wrong again! Arabs were a beneficiary of their location, in a round about way, as Algebra’s origins can be traced to the ancient Babylonians, who developed an advanced arithmetical system with which they were able to do calculations in an algorithmic fashion. The Babylonians developed formulas to calculate solutions for problems typically solved today by using linear equations, quadratic equations, and indeterminate linear equations. The Greeks studied this form of mathematics and the Arabs learned it in the Middle Ages via the Greek heritage left by the Byzantines, who they had recently conquered in the Fertile Crescent and Egypt. And in fact, even the first treatise in the Arabic language, from where we do in fact get the word “algebra” from (al-jabr in Arabic; it means “reunion”), was written by a Persian mathematician, Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi, not an Arab. This man is often considered the “father of algebra”, though he did not personally invent it in any way, shape or form.
“We invented the modern numerical system… (Not the Greeks, but Muslims!)”
I don’t know who said the Greeks gave us the modern numerical system. I must have missed that somewhere. But nonetheless, these symbols passed via the Arabs from the northern Indians. They were not invented by the Arabs, but rather only altered. The modern numerical system today, which we do refer to as Arabic numerals, in fact are not the same numbers that are used by Arabs themselves (look at any Arabic text book to suss this yourself) but rather a European modification of these Arabic numerals which in turn are themselves a modification of the older Hindic numerals from which the Arabs borrowed their own system.
“It is pronounced ‘Iss-laem’, not “Iz-lam”…”
First of all, young Mohammed repeated this twice – which the second go round he pronounced it how? “Iz-lam”; exactly the way he just told us indignantly not to pronounce it. Secondly, Mohammed is speaking North American English here, not Arabic. Don’t correct how Americans and Canadians might pronounce foreign loan words in our own language. Otherwise I would have the right to go nuts in Cairo, Dubai or any other Arabic speaking community when they (constantly) mispronounce English words that they have adopted as loan words into Arabic. The point of how a North American pronounces a foreign word is mute. Try going to the root pronunciation of all of the borrowed words that can be found in a King James Bible. There are hundreds of examples of Hebrew, Chaldean and Greek words that have a much more bastardized pronunciation that “Is-laem” to “Iz-lam”. And even in the Arabic language itself there are variations of this word which means there are even Arabs who don’t pronounce “Islam” the way that you do.
Come on, give me a break, Mohammed…
Now, I challenge anyone to put what I have said above against what Mohammed says in his propaganda video. Don’t take sides right away. Look up what I have written here. Compare it. Challenge it. Research it. You will find that obviously our friend Mohammed of the MAS New Jersey Branch just bought into bullshit that Arabs and Muslims have been peddling about their history of achievements for a long, long time. I don’t believe Mohammed made this up. I believe he believes every word of what he said, hook, line and sinker of this faux histoire. He’s probably been told this by “his people”. The longer I live the more I see “alternative histories” in subcultures – some more true than others. But a word of advice to Mohammed and the Muslim American Society, New Jersey Chapter…
If you are going to insist on extolling your culture and creating grand illusions of your past in propaganda meant for the masses, do your best to check the facts or someone will bust your balloon like I just did.
Next thing you know Mohammed will be telling us Islam is the “religion of peace”…