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Sep 10, 2005


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Unfortunately, there are those who need division and clashes in their lives, sometimes to feel better about themselves, other times so they can profit.

I wonder what Middle America would do if they read your post. Probably deny it. It's a shame, isn't it? How do we fix it?



I live in Middle America. Most of this is already know, in one form or another, and, believe it or not, is taught in school.

It is "middle America's" perception of "modern" Islam that has led to a perception of Islam’s backwardness. Cultural biases work both ways.

I do have some questions for you though;

1. Wasn't it the orthodox Sunni Ottoman Sultans that crushed Sufism?

2. How do modern Muslims balance science and religion? Christianity seems to have bent, perhaps been broken, trying to "cope" with scientific advances; my perception is that Islam is not as flexible, am I wrong?


You write:

The concept of the University is Islamic on origin.

I think you are mistaken. The university goes back at least to the Greeks of the classical period. In fact, Plato founded the Academy in 385 BCE.

I think what you meant to say is that the oldest continuous university is al-Ahzar. That, in itself, is a great achievement. But, higher learning in an academic setting long pre-dated the Muslims.


No, I think he is very much on the right path. "Higher learning" is indeed very old, but the (modern) European university and its basic functions and structure find their origins in the Islamic colleges of law and theology (this is not to say modern universities have not move on a great deal, but there is still much which is a reflection of classical Islamic methods of learning, e.g. the doctorate). The late Middle East medievalist George Makdisi has done some remarkable work in this field.


Good solid comments. After a few trips to the heart of the Islamic region (BTW - why was Bahrain conquered for failing to follow the prevailing beliefs in the 7th century?), I was dismayed to see a general decline in progress after the 9-10th centuries.

I would welcome some more progressive views from Islamic leaders, or at least some honest recognition of their inabilities to affect the radicals.

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