Advances made during the Middle Ages in the Islamic-ruled world were relatively modest even at the best of times and declined to almost nothing thereafter. Those contributions that did exist were made primarily by non-Arabs, and often by unorthodox Muslims who were harassed for their freethinking ways. Their scholarly contributions were primarily based on ancient Greek or other non-Islamic works and rarely moved much beyond these conceptually. They were made predominantly during the early centuries of Islamic rule, while large non-Muslim communities still existed in these countries, and normally in centers of urban culture that predated Islam by thousands of years. The Arabian Peninsula, the cradle of Islam, has contributed next to nothing of value to human civilization throughout Islamic history. Persians, who retained a few links with their pre-Islamic heritage after the conquests, produced some decent scholars, whereas Turks, who identified almost entirely with Islam after their conversion, produced practically none of any significance. If we combine these various factors, a very clear picture emerges: The rather modest - now often exaggerated - contributions made by certain Middle Eastern scholars during the Middle Ages were generally made in spite of Islam, not because of it. Orthodox Muslims rejected the Greek heritage.
On the other hand, while some minor advances were made in spite of Islam, tremendous damage was done to pre-existing non-Muslim cultures from India, Central and Southeast Asia to Europe that was directly caused or inspired by core Islamic religious teachings and texts.
A researcher from Denmark, Tina Magaard, spent years analyzing the original texts of different religions, from Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism to Sikhism. On the basis of a straight-forward reading of them she concluded that the Islamic texts are by far the most warlike among the major world religions. They encourage terror to a greater degree than the original texts of other faiths. “The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with,” says Magaard. There are many dozens of verses in the Koran explicitly calling for fighting and armed struggle against people of other faiths. “If it is correct that many Muslims view the Koran as the literal words of God, which cannot be interpreted or rephrased, then we have a problem. It is indisputable that the texts encourage terror and violence. Consequently, it must be reasonable to ask Muslims themselves how they relate to the text, if they read it as it is.”
At the end of the day it is hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of positive cultural, scholarly or artistic contributions, if any, Islam by itself has brought to mankind. The ancient Greeks borrowed the alphabet from the Phoenicians, medical and artistic ideas from the Egyptians and finally mathematics and planetary astronomy from the Mesopotamians; this was one of the most significant external impulses to the Western scientific tradition throughout its history, more fundamental than anything that came out of the Islamic-ruled Middle East.
Generally speaking, in ancient times it was an advantage for Greeks to be close to the Middle East, which partly explains why they were among the first Europeans to create an urban, literate culture. During the Middle Ages, the Middle East gradually went from being a global center of civilization, which it had been for thousands of years, into the global center of anti-civilization it is today. Suddenly, being close to the Middle East was a serious disadvantage. This massive transformation took place after the Islamic conquest, which is hardly coincidental.
Read the rest at Jihad Watch.