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I regret that Islamists are ever likely to find any commonality with anyone else!
Perhaps a good starting point to understand the Islamicists' fanatism would be to try to get inside the heads of the the Roundheads whose Puritan cultural vandalism in the mid-17th century swept through England's churches, destroying centuries of history including many organs, windows, statues to saints. Plus a fanatical belief that "my interpretation of the Qur'an is the only possible interpretation and it is my religious duty to kill anyone who disagrees with me because they and their ideas are evidently a stain on Allah's world so must be eradicated". The only world the Islamicists invading northern Mali (or the Taliban for that matter) consider worth living in is the world of 7th century Arabia during the life of Mohammed, a so-called "golden age of Islam". Everything must be lived according to how things worked in the 7th century.Unfortunately modern archeological and historical scholarship has blown wide open the central claims of the historicity of this period, meaning that the golden age these people dream of recreating never actually existed in the first place.
Hi!http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/12/world/africa/mali-shrines-destroyed/index.htmlWe need urgently to open religious discussion with Islam in finding the commonality of "The Construction Force" that we share from Genesis 1 in our common definition of God. We need to find greater understanding of the common religious heritage even with former manifestations of Divine understanding. WHO WILL WORK TOGETHER IN THIS? The library of Timbuktu is academically one of the most important in the world. It was the discovery of such an Islamic library in Teledo in 1085 which had preserved the Greek Myths that sparked the Renaissance.Islamists appear not to understand their heritage. If spiritual rebirth is any part of Islamic philosophy then the second pyramid for a start MUST be respected as possibly a place of initiation. We need URGENTLY to find ways of investigating the ways in which religions find accord so that then all forms of worship can be respected. Islamists who tried to destroy the heritage of The Parthenon in Athens simply did not understand the symbolism of the Frieze which they would find accorded with their teachings if only they investigated as to how . . . http://www.rt.com/news/egypt-destroy-pyramids-islamists-007/ explains the reasons for the Timbuktu destructionBest wishesDavid P
I regret to suggest, taking this reply at face value, that it is the most ill-considered, absurd and prejudiced response I have ever read, but peace be with us and to the prophet as we seek a little enlightenment.Let's start with a few facts concerning "the golden age of Islam," which was by no means restricted to 8th century Arabia, but in fact covers a period from around 750AD to maybe the 11th century AD, with considerable achievements right up to the 18th century.If you had an enquiring mind in the 10th-12th centuries, your hope of finding great libraries in the Christian world would have been dashed. Were you a scholar in Baghdad, Damascus or even Granada in what was Moorish Spain, you would have found books on art, calligraphy, optometry, medicine, philosophy and dozens of other subjects. In Granada, you would have walked among spectacular architecture, (still to be seen in the Alhambra Palace, Granada, as well as the great Mosque of Cordoba, since converted into a cathedral). You would have walked on pavements, you would have been taught to read, write, understand mathematics (among other things), and you would have had free medical and hospital care. The streets were even lit by oil lamps at night. Meanwhile, the 12th century Christians in the rest of Europe would have gone to their wattle and daub houses, along muddy paths strewn with straw and excrement, and they would be completely illiterate as well as superstitious.
Quote from: Contrabombarde on July 12, 2012, 08:35:22 PM..... The only world the Islamicists invading northern Mali (or the Taliban for that matter) consider worth living in is the world of 7th century Arabia during the life of Mohammed, a so-called "golden age of Islam". Everything must be lived according to how things worked in the 7th century.Unfortunately modern archeological and historical scholarship has blown wide open the central claims of the historicity of this period, meaning that the golden age these people dream of recreating never actually existed in the first place.I regret to suggest, taking this reply at face value, that it is the most ill-considered, absurd and prejudiced response I have ever read, but peace be with us and to the prophet as we seek a little enlightenment.Let's start with a few facts concerning "the golden age of Islam," which was by no means restricted to 8th century Arabia, but in fact covers a period from around 750AD to maybe the 11th century AD, with considerable achievements right up to the 18th century.Islam has as its roots the historic beliefs of ancient Judaism, and the Quran was the first religious document written in one hand, which sought to codify and present, (in the most beautiful, poetic language), all that was good and decent; notwithstanding the limitations in the sum of human knowledge in the 8th Century. Although I cannot verify or bring to mind the considerable amount of detail, Islam was born at a time when the trade routes crossed and re-crossed an area of the Islamic world we know as Syria and Damascus. Those trade routes exchanged learning and ideas from several continents....Europe, Arabia, India, China and Central Asia. I forget the exact reason why, but the Islamic world was pushed east, and then centred upon Baghdad, with Mecca still the focal point of believers.....
..... The only world the Islamicists invading northern Mali (or the Taliban for that matter) consider worth living in is the world of 7th century Arabia during the life of Mohammed, a so-called "golden age of Islam". Everything must be lived according to how things worked in the 7th century.Unfortunately modern archeological and historical scholarship has blown wide open the central claims of the historicity of this period, meaning that the golden age these people dream of recreating never actually existed in the first place.
I suppose the onus is on me to defend my "ill-considered, absurd and prejudiced response", in which case I must appeal to historical records to see what evidence we can find for such a "golden era" around the time of Mohammed. By virtue of choosing to comment on the destruction of the literary material and culture of Mali I completely accept the later achievements of Islamic scholars, astronomers, doctors and scientists writing in what we would know as the early medieval period of Western history. I have walked the streets of Samarkand in Uzbekistan and observed the many glorious mosques, the astronomical observatory and in Tashkent I visited a library in order to view one of the earliest manuscripts of the Quran, written in the Kufic script which dates it to the mid-eighth century. The phrase "golden age of Islam" is surely appropriate to be used to describe this period.However, I was not applying that phrase to the thugs of Mali; instead I was describing their aspiration for their own "golden age of Islam", stripped of modern distractions and as close a recreation of the world of Mohammed as can practically be copied nowadays. The Taliban have a similar zeal. The point of irony is that their "golden age of Islam" - certainly not to be confused with the world of the Samarkand scholars - is but a figment of their imagination and they are destroying valuable later Islamic culture and ways of life to create a society modelled on something that never existed.Take Mecca and Mohammed for instance. The earliest non-Muslim reference to Mecca comes from a mid-eighth century document. The earliest account of Muhammed's life was that of Ibn Ishaq who lived more than a hundred years after Mohammed's death, and other biographers wrote later still (and are even less credible). The Hadith, or sayings of Mohammed, date from two centuries after his death. If Mecca was the centre of Middle Eastern trade, the Dubai of the ancient Orient, one would have expected rather more to have been written about it at the time than what survives. And despite the claim in the Quran that the direction of prayer for Muslims was focussed on Mecca from soon after the time of the Hijra (AD 624), it is uncertain why early mosques continued to point themeslves vaguely in the direction of Jerusalem for a further two centuries. The first reference we have to anyone called Mohammed dates from a coin struck in Damascus around 690AD, the year before the Dome of the Rock was built in Jerusalem.It's certainly true that the Quran has its origins in Judaism and Christianity, but it's pushing it to conclude that it is written in but one hand. Textual criticism of the Quran is most revealing since it shows how a bizarre concoction of Jewish and Christian apocryphal writings (more so than Biblical writings), musings on war and peace in the context of Muhammed's followers, plus a bit of ancient Greek medicine has been thrown together and it is certainly not all written by a single hand. On the one hand we have stories about Jesus' childhood, but not those of the Gospels: instead, Jesus picks up lumps of clay, models them into birds and breathes life into them, whereupon they fly off (taken straight from the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas); we read how the Queen of Sheba came to meet Solomon and on entering his court mistook the glass polished floor for a lake and pulled up her skirt so as not to get it wet (a story which first appeared in the second-century AD Jewish writings known as the Second Targum of Esther). And the stages of embryonic development taught by the second century Roman doctor Galen have also found their way into the Quran, which is perhaps not surprising given that Islamic tradition maintains that one of Mohammed's companions was a doctor who had studied medicine in present-day Iraq, where a century earlier the works of Galen were first translated from the original Greek. The musings on war and peace follow a chronology too, though the Quran is not complied chronologically and it was later Muslims who determined the historical order in which events happen. Interestingly when Mohammed was first beginning his "ministry" and building alliances the messages are about peace and harmony; as he became stronger militarily and eventually conquered the lands around Mecca the Quranic verses become much more menacing towards non-Muslims, including Christians and Jews.The legacy of his successors leaves much to be desired. Writings of terrified Christian and other historians from Syria and Palestine when invading Arab armies conquered those lands in the decades after Mohammed's death suggest that the "golden age of Islam" that the Mali militants seek to recreate was very much more "sword" than "ploughshare". But there is no historical evidence for the existence of a single entity, a book, written by one hand and called the Quran, during the period of the early Arab conquests. There is however a sea of apocryphal literature, much of it used and preserved by the various Jewish and Christian sects that lived in the Arabian peninsular in the seventh century, some of whom would have experienced persecution for their deviation from more orthodox beliefs. Thus there was no shortage of material from which to draw a narrative, a unifying book or history for a newly emergent group of conquering Arabs needing to forge a new cultural identity. From these early Muslims developed a whole mythology around Mecca as the greatest city on earth, the city Abraham visited, some would say a city Moses brought the Israelites during the wilderness years of the Exodus, and this period around Mohammed's life was the greatest period in human history. Alas, the reality is that Mecca was barely on the map until a hundred years after his death and far from any of the known trade routes, and far from being dictated in perfect Arabic, the immutable and inimical word of God, the Quran was merely a compilation of many local texts and manuscripts of dubious probity.That is why I submit that the particular "golden age of Islam" that the Mali militants seek to impose on the people of Timbuktu, never actually existed to begin with as a model for their assault, and they are trying to impose something that never happened, so never worked then, and inevitably will not work now. And lest I stand accused of being judgemental or prejudiced, I can only say that I think the historical (lack of) evidence for their panacea speaks for itself rather more loudly than I can speak.