What Jews/Israel and Moslems/Arabs Give to the World – Part 1

What Jews/Israel and Moslems/Arabs Contribute to the World – Part 1

Moslem/Arab Gifts to the Modern World

© David Burton 2016

Islamic Gift to the World

     This article is the first of two that illustrate what Moslems/Arabs and Jews/Israel have been contributing to our modern world. Here in Part 1, I will attempt to describe the gifts to humanity that the more than 317 million Moslems/Arabs in the Middle East-North Africa region[1] and the 248 million Moslems in Sub-Saharan Africa[2] have given us.

     In Part 2, I will do the same for the State of Israel. We should note that the total population of Israel today stands at about 8.5 million – Jews, Moslems, Christians, Druze and others. As I have noted, the total number of Moslems in the Middle East and Africa is 565 million, nearly 70 times the population of Israel. The Middle East-North Africa region has the highest concentration of Moslems of any region of the world: 93% of its approximately 317 million inhabitants are Moslem, compared with 30% in sub-Saharan Africa and 24% in the Asia-Pacific region. One would expect that, just based upon population, the gifts of Islam/Arabs to the modern world would far exceed those from Israel. Let’s see if our expectations have been met in actuality.

     In an article documenting Islamic gifts to civilizations, Craig Considine states, ”Muslims have actually made enormous contributions to civilization” (Ref. 3) and he goes on to list several of them , including:

  • Two Muslim women, Fatima and Miriam al-Firhi, created the world’s first university, Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859 AD.
  • Between the 8th and 15th centuries, Andalucía was perhaps the world’s epicenter for education and knowledge.
  • One of the greatest Muslim contributions to civilization began in the 8th century when Muslim scholars inherited volumes of Greek philosophy. The wisdom in ancient Greece texts, which had been lost to Europeans, was translated from Latin to Arabic by Muslim scholars.
  • Islamic “thinkers” of the 10th through 15th centuries, such as Al-Ghazali and Ibn Khaldun, are credited with making significant contributions to philosophy and the social sciences.
  • In the field of medicine, the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital was created in Cairo, Egypt in 872. It was the earliest hospital to give care to the mentally ill. A century later, a Moslem surgeon wrote an illustrated encyclopedia that was used as a guide to European surgeons for the next five hundred years.
  • Muslim astronomers made significant contributions to the development of astronomy. In the early 9th century, observatories were built in Baghdad and in Damascus. In 1420, an observatory was built in Samarkand, and another in 1577 in Istanbul. A 16th century Ottoman astronomer, created astronomical tables and observational instruments that helped measure the coordinates of stars and the distances between them.
  • Muslims have also made contributions in the field of chemistry by inventing many of the basic processes and apparatuses used by modern-day chemists. Working in the 8th and 9th centuries, Jabir Ibn Hayyan, transformed alchemy into chemistry. In addition to developing the processes of crystallization, evaporation, and filtration, he also discovered sulphuric and nitric acid.
  • It’s claimed that the first aviator was a Moslem. Ibn Firnas of Andalucía in the 9th century supposedly constructed a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba, Spain, using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. Although he hoped to glide like an eagle, he did not, and is therefore credited by some with creating the first parachute.
     These Islamic/Arab gifts to civilization may indeed be important but, significantly, none date to any time within the last 400 or more years – most are closer to 1,000 years old. So exactly what have Moslems/Arabs given to our world in more modern times?

     For the past several hundred years, with the exception of oil, the Arab and Moslem world has contributed little if anything to the rest of the world. It has produced essentially no technology, medicine or anything else in the world of science. It has almost no contributions to world literature, art or to intellectual development.

     But, In one respect, a part of the Moslem/Arab world has contributed much more to our modern world than has the State of Israel – the radical fundamentalist segment of the Moslem/Arab world has gifted us terrorism, destruction, rape and slavery.

     The number of terror attacks by radical Islamists throughout the modern world are now too numerous, too horrendous and too well-known to bear repeating here in their entirety.

     Islamic gifts to the modern world include rape, sexual abuse, slavery and forced marriage. While many of these “gifts” have been primarily bestowed on other Moslems and the black population of Africa, other of these “gifts” are being conferred upon the rest of the world.

     In early 2015, “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 2014 was marked by harrowing accounts of rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage being used by {Moslem} extremists including the Islamic State group {ISIS} and Boko Haram.
     “. . . the UN chief expressed ‘grave concern’ over sexual violence perpetrated by armed groups, including those promoting {Moslem} extremist ideologies in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Libya and Yemen.
      - - -
     “Since mid-2014, the report said, ‘there has been a significant increase in the number of reported cases of sexual violence perpetrated by terrorist groups,’ especially the Islamic State group which ‘uses sexual violence to spread terror, persecute ethnic and religious minorities and suppress communities that oppose its ideology.’
     "The report singled out that group’s abduction of hundreds of Yazidi women and girls in Iraq, some of whom were taken into Syria and ‘sold’ in markets to be used as sex slaves. . . .
      - - -
     “In Sudan’s western Darfur region, it said the number of displaced civilians has increased over the past year and so have reports of sexual violence. And in South Sudan, it said sexual violence remains prevalent — including gang rape, castration, forced nudity and forced abortion — which is ‘exacerbated by impunity and a militarized society in which gender inequality is pronounced.’ ” (Ref. 4) Today, slavery is unknown everywhere in the world, except in portions of the Arab world!

     Islamic extremists have given the world the mass murder of innocent civilians. 9/11, the Paris attacks, the Boston marathon bombings, the London subway bombings, etc., etc., etc. are but a few of the multitude of acts of Islamic terrorism that illustrate the ongoing slaughter of innocent civilians by “heroic Islamic fighters and martyrs”. Will someone please explain to me how murdering an innocent and defenseless civilian can, by any stretch of the imagination, be called “heroic”. Most of us would deem such behavior as cowardly. It’s one thing to die fighting armed opponents, but quite another thing to go out and kill unarmed and innocent civilians, including the aged, the infirm, women and children.

     Islamic fundamentalists have destroyed irreplaceable historical, religious and archaeological treasures.

    ”In March 2001, six months before the September 11th bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Taliban destroyed two ancient statues of the Buddha called Bamiyan in an attempt to cleanse the country of Afghanistan of what they perceived as Hindu heresy.” (Ref. 5)

     Continuing in the steps of the their Taliban brethren, the fundamentalist Islamic extremists of ISIS have been leaving a trail of death and destruction in Iraq and Syria. In the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, they have been hard at work destroying centuries old antiquities. “Archaeologists have offered a grim assessment of the damage wrought by Islamic State militants to a museum in the Syrian city of Palmyra . . .
     “The museum itself was destroyed and some of its most distinctive statues were shattered by the Muslim extremists during the 10 months that ISIS controlled the town before being expelled last month. The militants had cut off the heads and hands of statues and demolished others before being driven out of the city.
      - - -
     “. . . Islamic State militants demolished three ancient arches in Palmyra, as part of their campaign to obliterate important historic monuments across the territories of Iraq and Syria.
      - - -
     “The Islamic State believed the pre-Islamic monuments of the region to be idolatrous. After seizing the city in May, 2015, ISIS extremists destroyed the shrine of Baal Shamin and the Temple of Bel. The Temple of Bel was 2,000 years old and regarded as the greatest jewel of Palmyra’s antiquities.
      - - -
     “The Islamic State’s systematic pillaging and demolition of cultural artifacts in the Middle East has been called the worst large-scale destruction of the region’s cultural heritage since the Second World War. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “Palmyra was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the museum was among the biggest tourist attractions in Syria. Prior to Syria’s civil war, which began in 2011, Palmyra attracted 150 thousand tourists a year. (Ref. 6)

     In Iraq, ISIS fanatics have been destroying religious antiquities. The Islamic State attack on the holy sites of other religions is reminiscent of the Taliban destruction of 2,000 year old Buddha statues in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan valley in 2001. The Taliban Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice roamed Afghanistan destroying art. It destroyed a large number of artworks in the National Museum in Kabul.

     In addition to destroying Shia and Sufi mosques and tombs in its captured territory, the Islamic State has vowed to eradicate other important archaeological sites in Iraq.

     Moslem disregard for other religions and their associated antiquities has even extended into Israel. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the holiest site in Judaism. After the First Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE by the Babylonians, Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem in 538 BCE and completed the construction of the Second Temple in 515 BCE. Even after the Temple's destruction by Roman armies in 70 CE, the site of the Temple has remained the direction of Jewish prayer.

     “After September 2000, the Muslim Waqf closed off the Temple Mount entirely to any archeological oversight by the Israel Antiquities Authority. Then, in order to complete new underground mosques at the site, it removed to city garbage dumps some 13,000 tons of rubble from the Temple Mount that included archeological remnants from the First and Second Temple periods. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “In 1996, Palestinian Islamic clerics changed the accepted status quo that had been preserved for generations and converted two ancient underground Second Temple period structures into a new large mosque. Both structures, known as Solomon's Stables and the Eastern Hulda Gate passageway, were never mosques before.  . . .
     “In 1997, another ancient underground Second Temple period structure, known as the Western Hulda Gate passageway, was converted into another new mosque.
     “In November 1999, the Islamic clerics opened what they called an ‘emergency exit’ to the new mosque. Over three days and nights, the ‘exit’ expanded into a gaping hole, 18,000 square feet in size, and up to 36 feet deep. Thousands of tons of ancient fill from the site, subsequently found by Israeli archeologists to contain artifacts dating as early as the First Temple period, were dumped into the Kidron Valley.
     “In February and March 2001, an ancient arched structure built against the eastern wall of the Temple Mount enclosure was razed by bulldozers in order to further enlarge the ‘emergency gate’ of the new mosque at Solomon's Stables.
      - - -
     “Antiquities found in the {material removed from the Temple Mount} include a pillared figurine leg from the time of the First Temple; pottery from the First Temple -- the earliest identified shard is from the eighth century BCE; and pottery from the Second Temple -- including the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.
     “According to a Waqf worker who participated in the construction in 1996, stones with decorations and inscriptions were recut so that markings were destroyed. He said he saw writing on the stones in ancient Hebrew. He also saw 5-pointed star symbols on the stones, which we know was a Hasmonean symbol commonly found on handle seals from the second century BCE.
     “In the recent digging on the Temple Mount, hundreds of trucks were seen removing earth. The trucks were traced to Jerusalem's municipal garbage dump, where the material was mixed with the local garbage . . .
     “The following day, archeologists arrived at the new dumpsite and took samples of pottery. {An archaeologist} dated at least half of it to the Second Temple Era . . .
      - - -
     “All of the underground spaces of the Temple Mount are ancient, some possibly Canaanite, and others date from the period of the First Temple, from the days of the Hasmoneans and Herod. Some served as ancient gates to the Temple Mount, and others as purifying baths for priests who became impure. These underground spaces present a most important archeological connection for our knowledge of the Temple Mount . . .” (Ref. 7) This is but one more example of the willful destruction of items of historical and religious importance to others by Moslems.

     Whenever Muslims talk about Islam's contributions to civilization, they point to the great Muslim poets, philosophers and scientists, of a bygone era, the so-called Islamic Golden Age, that spanned the 8th to the 14th century. There may be no denying the fact that these were great Muslims who made significant contributions to human society. But what if anything of significance has Islam contributed in the last 600 years? I can point to absolutely nothing. As Sam Harris, a popular critic of Islam, said in reference to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist, she is “the best thing to come out of the Muslim world in 1,000 years.” (Ref. 3) The world of mainstream Islam does not appear to be conducive to change or progress.

     The inescapable fact is that Islam has contributed nothing to the modern world in a thousand years. Quite the opposite. Islam’s extremist element has, in fact, only destroyed, killed, raped, and enslaved in modern times. Today, it is attempting to turn back the pages of time some 1400 years. Those are the gifts that Islam and the Arab peoples have given to the modern world.

     In part 2, we will turn to the State of Israel and see what, if anything, that nation and its peoples have contributed to our modern society.

  1. World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think, Drew DeSilver, PewResearchCenter,
    7 June 2013.
  2. Islam: Muslim Population, Worldwide, Jewish Virtual Library, February 2016.
  3. Overcoming Historical Amnesia: Muslim Contributions to Civilization, Craig Considine, Huffington Post,
    23 January 2014.
  4. Extremists use rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage as terror tactics, UN says, Edith M. Lederer, thestar.com, 14 April 2015.
  5. Destruction of the Bamiyan Statues, K. Kris Hirst, About.com, Accessed 7 June 2016.
  6. Muslim ‘Barbarians’ Destroy, Pillage Ancient Artifacts in Syria, Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D., breitbart.com,
    17 April 2016.
  7. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT ANTIQUITIES, Mark Ami-El, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1 August 2002.


  17 June 2016 {Article 253; Islam_22}    
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