How the moslem inventors changed the world - or did they?
I actually wanted to pass this by, since it has nothing to do with Denmark, but what the heck - its a slow newsday for Danish stuff I can blog.
You may or may not know, that The Independent recently ran an article on the exhibition "1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World" that is currently circulating in Great Britain. The Independent piece then nominated the 20 most important "moslem inventions". One problem, though:
Most of it is bogus.
For starters, you have to wonder why, to come up with 20 "influential inventions", the exhibition needs to include the 3-course-meal, coffee and chess. Then there is the fact, that legitimate doubts can be raised about 11 of them, and that none of them seem to have been made in the last 500 years.
Fausta (via Gates of Vienna and Filtrat) already picked apart 10 of the "inventions" (numbers 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18 and 20), to which I can add no 1: coffee. As the Independent story goes:
1 The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry.
The problem with this story is, that it is a lie. There are no arabs in Kaffa, and indeed the arab myth about coffee is about a goatherder in Yemen. In Kaffa - where coffee is originally from - it was christian ethiopian monks that made the discovery. Also by goat, btw.
Then there are the small, annoying comments meant to debase non-moslems. Example:
5 ... One of the Crusaders' most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash.
....which is part of the moslem superiority complex. Like stories are passed around by lots of other medieval moslems to put down non-moslems. When an arab traveller ran into a band of vikings in Russia, he fex in much detail described how their daily morning hygiene consisted in passing around a vessel of water, in which they all in turn washed and blew their noses.
The stories were then propagated during the renaissance to put down that filthy period in between the Antique and its re-birth (Re-naissance).