There has been a lot of mention made recently about how Islam is a religion of the dark ages, treating women as inferior and wanting to roll back justice to a simpler form. Frankly, this flummoxes me. Well, not really, since most people making these claims are about as uninformed about Islam as the leaders of our government. I don’t claim to be an expert on the Islamic religion, and I’m certainly not excusing the fundamentalist extremism of the religion, but let’s not forget that killing in the name of God didn’t start with Muslims.
As for an Islamic takeover returning the world to the dark ages, well, the plain truth of the matter is that the dark ages were a wholly and uniquely Christian age. The attempt to stifle knowledge and shroud people in ignorance during the Middle Ages were located entirely within the Christian-dominate European countries. There was no correlative dark ages in the Orient during this time, nor is there any indication of a similar period at any time in the areas soon to be “discovered” by Europeans and renamed the New World.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the Christianized nations of Europe and the Islamic culture during the dark ages which so many people are afraid Muslims will return to the world to. Muslim sailors began using the triangular lateen sail while Europeans were still using the traditional square sail. The triangular sails provided for faster sailing by virtue of better control of the wind. Just as the Europeans would adopt the triangular sail from Muslims, they would also eventually begin using Muslim maps since these were far more accurate than the maps being made by European cartographers. You want an idea of just how much better the Muslim maps were? The Vikings—the greatest European seafarers at the time—used the Muslim maps.
While Copernicus and Galileo were being all but crucified by the Catholic Church for daring to suggest that the sun was the center of the solar system, and during a time when many still believed the earth was flat, Muslim astronomers were far ahead of Christian nations in understanding the heavens.
During the dark ages in Europe leeches and amputation were the medicinal treatments of choice. Let’s also not forget that European medicine at this basically rested on the theory of “humors” which had to be cut and bled in order to relieve the evil and demons that were controlling people. At the exact same time, the Muslim doctors were using herbs, ointments and even acupuncture to treat various ailments. So while limbless citizens was a common sight throughout Christian Europe, Muslims were walking around on two legs due to the strides forward in medicine that were allowed to be undertaken.
Still, there is that nasty fact that Muslims today still treat women as second class citizens, especially in comparison to Christians. Except…well…I ask you, how many times have you seen a Muslim teenage girl expose her breasts on a religious holiday in exchange for a pair of plastic beads she could walk into any store an America and buy for less than a nickel? How many young Muslim women are exposing their bodies to the entire world via a small webcam placed on top of their computer inside their bedroom, while their oblivious parents stare dully at the sight of other Christian women vying for cash prizes by taking off their clothes, or eating bugs, or trying to be the biggest bitch in business? Oh yeah, Christian countries definitely treat their women with far more respect than Muslim countries do. It’s all a matter of degree and definition.
I’m sure there will be many who read this and will be tempted to say to me if I’m such a big fan of Islam, why don’t I leave the country and join them. Yeah, unfortunately, that’s exactly the depth of reasoning that is guiding our policy toward Islamic countries today. Islamic revolution will lead us back to the dark ages? I tell you this: I’ll take life in an Islamic country during the Middle Ages over life in a Christian country any time.
I like having both my legs and the knowledge that the earth isn’t the center of the solar system.