Islam’s intelligent past

By Nadia Hussain

Editor, the Gauntlet,

As a devout Muslim female, I take a strong exception to Margaret Wente’s quote published in the May 20 edition of the Gauntlet, “Tales from Iraq.”

While discussing the reasons for the inability of the U.S. military to maintain control over Iraq, she stated that, “Thinking for yourself is un-Islamic.” One is compelled to wonder whether Ms. Wente has familiarized herself with the historical civilizations that flourished in Baghdad, Cordoba, and the Mughal Empire in what is today India. If independent thinking is “un-Islamic” then one wonders how and why Muslim philosophers, poets, scientists, and mathematicians were able to contribute so much to their respective fields during the period in which Europe was plunged in the so-called “Dark Ages.”

Muslim civilizations flourished from between circa 700-1300, including in what is today Spain. Muslim philosophers translated works of Plato and Socrates at a time when philosophical discussions in some parts of Europe were considered acts akin to heresy. Perhaps Ms. Wente needs to familiarize herself with fundamental Islamic principles–the Quran encourages individuals, both male and female, to pursue and seek knowledge, not shirk from it. Publishing such wildly inaccurate comments regarding Islam exclusively augments the existing swirl of misinformation and prejudices against this massively misunderstood faith.

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