Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jim Knight MP: Teach British children what Muslims did for us

When a minister for schools becomes prescriptive over the minutiae of the nation’s history syllabus, one has a justifiable cause for concern. While the greatness of Britain’s history is downplayed, its most inspirational leaders blotted out, the glories of its empire erased, and its Christian traditions set aside, Jim Knight is of the opinion that ‘It is very important for the whole country to understand the hugely positive impact that Islamic inventors have had upon the world, and for Muslims to take pride in it’.

And so schools should teach children ‘what Muslims did for us’ - the contribution Muslims have made to civilisation – ‘in order to combat the threats of extremism and discrimination’. Lessons should be given in ‘the scientific and cultural innovations of Islam over the centuries’ which would ‘give young Muslims a sense of worth and reduce their risk of becoming alienated and falling under the spell of radicals’.

And the ‘debt we all owe to Muslims’ includes ‘coffee and pinhole cameras to the three-course dinner and advancements in maths’. And so the National Curriculum should be amended to reflect this.

Cranmer is not of the anti-Islam fellowship which insists that nothing good could or ever has come out of it. And neither is he the sort of ‘phobe’ who tarnishes its adherents with the same brush and perceives a jihadist under every halal cornflake. But Mr Knight is wrong to insist that the history syllabus should be changed to reflect the positive contributions, while schools dare not mention the negatives for fear of being accused of ‘racism’.

Cranmer is no expert on the origins of the pin-hole camera, or, for that matter, the three-course dinner (didn’t the Jewish seder introduce the notion of ‘courses?), but he would be rather certain that the origin of such as these is, at best, contested. At worst, the claims of proponents of such concepts as ‘Arabic science’ are baseless or exaggerated. An Arabic- sounding name is not evidence of Islamic inspiration, for many who possessed such names were not the progeny only of Muslims, but also Jews, Christians or Zoroastrians. Their achievements in the arts, sciences or humanities were not because they were Muslims or because of Islam, but despite both. We do not, after all, credit the Roman Catholic Church with the achievements of Copernicus, or the Church of England with the theories of Darwin.

To eradicate all debate and produce text books which ascribe the glory to Islam will only serve to inculcate children with a notion of supremicism which will prove divisive. Why not just teach the dogmatic worldview of the Qur’an? For Allah created civilisation, and it is his laws which have been transgressed and it is his moral code which is disobeyed.

Cranmer has never met a Muslim who agitates for the origins of the pinhole camera or the three course dinner to be taught in schools. Yet he has heard of many who insist that Islam may not be questioned and the Qur’an may not be criticised. There can be no lesson on ‘what Muslims did for us’ without the counterbalance of what is being done in their name now - like the suppression of women, the execution of children, the eradication of free speech, the threats of violence, the erosion of Western notions of liberty and democracy. And there can be no unqualified credit without analysis of its perceived intolerance.

Muslim children who live in the United Kingdom need to be taught what Britain and Christianity have done for them – the provision of education, freedom of conscience and inquiry, debate and the exchange of ideas, equality, and reward for hard work. They should be taught to consider this, and then thank God that they do not live in Egypt, Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia, where their liberties would be curtailed, their education narrow, their creativity stifled and their prospects diminished.

Jim Knight ought to read some Ibn Warraq:

A culture that gave the world the novel; the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert; and the paintings of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Rembrandt does not need lessons from societies whose idea of heaven, peopled with female virgins, resembles a cosmic brothel. Nor does the West need lectures on the superior virtue of societies in which women are kept in subjection under sharia, endure genital mutilation, are stoned to death for alleged adultery, and are married off against their will at the age of nine; societies that deny the rights of supposedly lower castes; societies that execute homosexuals and apostates. The West has no use for sanctimonious homilies from societies that cannot provide clean drinking water or sewage systems, that make no provisions for the handicapped, and that leave 40 to 50 percent of their citizens illiterate.

Now then, Cranmer is going to make a coffee, and he shall be sure not to thank Allah for inventing it.


Anonymous oiznop said...


You need to do an article on Boris Johnson too:

Boris reassures Muslims of his support

By Ahmed J Versi

In an exclusive interview, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, reassured the Muslim community that he would continue in the step of his predecessor Ken Livingstone on supporting diversity and equality projects.
“One thing I decided very early on was that the only way to run London is to support diversity and to recognise that you have got to be proactive and give encouragement and support to all communities,” Johnson said. He added that it was important to “celebrate the achievements of communities” in London that make the city so attractive. “London would not be London and it wouldn’t be the greatest city on earth if it wasn’t for the hundreds of communities who live here.”
There were concerns that programmes like ‘Eid in the Square’, ‘Diwali in the Square’ held in Trafalgar Square and other faith based events would not be supported nor funded. However, he said he was “totally behind that” and would “support that completely.”
Muslims were also concerned about the Mayor’s and of his new Director of Policy, Anthony Browne’s negative remarks on Islam in the Spectator magazine. For example, Browne argued in July 24, 2004 that Islam wants to conquer the world etc. “I understand completely people’s concerns,” he said and argued that one has to “distinguish between the kind of slightly careless polemical things people may say in their journalistic capacity which can be drawn out and used against them. You have to distinguish between that and what they really want to do in London.”
Johnson gave assurance that Browne was “utterly committed to a glorious multi racial multi ethnic, multi faith London in which we emphasise the achievements of all communities and he will be going out of his way to prove that point.”
Muslims make up at least a quarter of the 40% minority communities in London and Johnson said he would be “engaging” with the Muslim community. There had been propaganda against him in the last elections which he believed was “very serious” and found it “offensive and upsetting.” He therefore said he wishes to “knock on the head” such “suspicions and anxieties”.
When Johnson found out about his Muslim ancestry, he feels that “with more understanding there would be less conflicts”. When he found out that his great grandfather knew the Qur’an by heart, “I immediately bought the Qur’an and I have been learning Arabic. Actually it is not that difficult as the script. It has very simple alphabets.” He said he was making progress and to prove it, he recited the kalimah – La ilaha illa Allah. Muhammad Rasulullah (There is no deity except God. Muhammad is His Messenger).

19 October 2008 at 12:40  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

So what is next a law requiring the wearing of the hijab? Or how about erecting a minaret at St. Paul's ‘in order to combat the threats of extremism and discrimination’ Or how about the ABC apologizing for the Crusades?

19 October 2008 at 13:10  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

In the fields of science, philosophy, etc., there was either copying and summarizing of ancient works, or new work that was done by non-Arabs (some of them Muslims, some not) living under Muslim rule. The intellectual work commonly attributed to Islam was not generated by Islam, but by non-Islamic sources working within the Islamic society but outside the immediate dictates of orthodox Islam.

Teach your children that. Teach them about dhimmitude as well. And teach them about the WWII Handschar SS Division and it's early 90's revival in the multicultural war against Greater Serbia as well.

19 October 2008 at 14:06  
Blogger Miss Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
You make me laugh! Jim Knight is an idiot and so it comes as no surprise that he should say such nonsense.

'Cranmer has never met a Muslim who agitates for the origins of the pinhole camera...'

HA! Quite so, quite so. That's because to do so would simply be insane.

19 October 2008 at 15:16  
Anonymous John Newton said...

I would not mind the occasional mention of the Muslim role in the slave trade to repair the notion that the trans-Atlantic trade was the only one of note or that the Anglosphere was uniquely immoral in this regard

19 October 2008 at 16:26  
Blogger The Gentleman Loser said...

Jim Knight also believes that there has never been a better time to be a teacher. Ha _______ing ha!

19 October 2008 at 16:39  
Anonymous Watching in pain said...

This is the standard trade of for Labour types - selling our culture and history in exchange for votes.

The irony is that Islam despises atheists and thieves and liars like them most of all.

Or to put it another way - Jim Knight will be amonsgt the first to be beheaded once the Caliphate comes.

19 October 2008 at 19:06  
Blogger Willy Wombat said...

Your Crace,

As both a mathematician and a teacher, whilst I would agree that a lot of scientific knowledge originates in arab countries, very little of any consequence has come out of any of them for the past thousand years.

I would further suggest that Islam has held back scientific progress in arab countries, much as the Catholic Church did in Europe in the first half of the last millenium.

19 October 2008 at 19:15  
Blogger Noon said...

Maybe he should insist on a module that teaches pupils about all of the inventions we should thank Israel for...

19 October 2008 at 19:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is all over for Christian dominance guys.
I appreciate that you should think moaning in a diplomatic manner will make changes, but we are finished.
The working classes are addled with either alcohol, weed, or stronger. God is something you say when you are being sick.
All this intellectual moaning in a frightfully posh way will serve for nothing: do you really think Muslims care about inter faith relations? Yeah, you do don't you!
Jolly ho, blessed be the name of the Lord and God bless your pretty heads.

19 October 2008 at 20:18  
Anonymous Alcuin said...

Cranmer is not of the anti-Islam fellowship which insists that nothing good could or ever has come out of it.

Perhaps your Grace could give a little thought to what good has come out of Islam - i.e. that was not copied or stolen from other cultures. You might find that quite a challenge.

To the best of my knowledge the only original piece of science to come out of Islamic culture was in Optics, by Al Hazen. Algebra (India and Diophantus of Greece), "Arabic numbers" and zero (India),Trigonometry (India), Medicine (Hippocrates and Galen), Science (Aristotle), mechanisms (Archimedes, Hero), etc. etc.

The translators were mostly Christians or Jews - Muslims did not demean themselves by learning kaffir languages.

19 October 2008 at 21:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The translators were mostly Christians or Jews - Muslims did not demean themselves by learning kaffir languages."

The subject of Melvyn Bragg's 'In Our Time' last week. Syriac-speaking Monophysite Christians did a lot of the translating of Aristotle into Arabic in Baghdad, and in Persia.
The Arab-Persian (re-)discovery of the Greeks Aristotle and Galen can hardly be called 'Isalmic scholarship'.

19 October 2008 at 21:35  
Anonymous dilys said...

the gentleman loser said...
Jim Knight also believes that there has never been a better time to be a teacher. Ha _______ing ha!

19 October 2008 16:39

It is proving to be a very good time to be a freshly retired teacher with good health and no debts:0)

19 October 2008 at 22:57  
Anonymous Convinced Anglican said...

Your Grace

This makes me so angry. It is a form of mental abuse of children i.e. the inculcation of lies. It is worthy of a teacher walk-out on those grounds alone. Jim Knight is an idiot.

While NuLabour suppresses the teaching of British and European history, this fool says we should further diminish our national self-respect by becoming Dhimmis; even before the Muslim Brotherhood (founders of MCB) have achieved their well-publicised aims of an Islamic Europe by stealth (immigration) and demographics (breeding).

I pray for some sign that the Conservative Party understand the true nature of Islam in Britain but all in vain. That David Cameron should stay with a Muslim family and then tell British conservatives we would do well to emulate their moral teaching is a damning indictment.

Is Eton not a Christian college? Does he know nothing of Christian moral teaching? Is he not an Anglican? Does he REALLY believe the teachings of an illiterate warlord, a paedophile, a rapist, have greater moral value than those of our Lord Jesus Christ.

England is finished; betrayed by her own elected representatives and Church leaders.

19 October 2008 at 23:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace.
While our politicians play the harlot with Islam one feels it prudent to draw attention to
historical precedents of similar folly. attempts to appease a militant power that is hell bent on world conquest are always doomed to eventual failure, from the paying of danegeld to the vikings or the ghostly echo of
Mr Chamberlain's " peace in our time" appeasment due to fear has never worked & never will!

19 October 2008 at 23:28  
Anonymous Charles Martel said...

I have seen " The Sword of Mohammed" in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul"

There is no sword of the Prince of Peace.

20 October 2008 at 09:22  
Anonymous Steve T said...

Seems like a good time to merge in with the apparently compulsory (and misleading) slavery teaching. They could include the muslim slave raids into England in the 17th century, and cover the whole topic of slavery.

20 October 2008 at 10:34  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

If islamic "civilisation" is so wonderful,what are muslims doing here?

20 October 2008 at 11:22  
Blogger sallreen said...

I found "A British teacher detained in Sudan after her class called a teddy bear Mohammad was charged on Wednesday with insulting Islam in a move that sparked a diplomatic row between London and Khartoum."
Social advertising

20 October 2008 at 11:40  
Blogger Dave said...

What Muslims did for us? Don't make me laugh.

A Christian volunteer is assassinated in Afghanistan because she, by her deeds, was spreading Christianity.
What the Muslims did for her was shoot her.
I could rest my case but I will go on.
When comparing what little the Mislims did for us it is worth remembering that arabic numerals are arabic not Muslim. They came into use centuries before Islam. So they can't claim that. As for the others? Pfffui!
I'm Cornish and we Cornish can claim far more useful inventions and discoveries that have benefited the world- for instance:
The miners safety lamp which allowed industrial age to commence. Cornish Beam engines, the first railway locomotive, the first steam road vehicle, the first gas lighting, the breeches buoy, etc, etc.
All practical and useful. Add in the achivements of the Scots and the English and it puts their miniscule claim into perspective.
Pin hole camera? Don't make me laugh!

20 October 2008 at 13:27  
Anonymous roman said...

Our children should also learn about the amazing scientific and practical inventions that were born in China - unfortunately this creativity ceased in the 16th century when the State became all-pervasive.

A lesson there.

20 October 2008 at 13:38  
Anonymous johnse18 said...

I found this

an interesting article - dealing with the claims made for Islamic civilisation.

20 October 2008 at 13:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christianity has had it's day. Now it is time for Islam to take over and serve God. We are too weak and pathetic. The only hope left now is prophecy: if this turns out to be folly, then what was their to lose (except your head).

20 October 2008 at 16:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This hard selliing of one minority religion (there are actually a fair few of them) of them actually goes against Pluralism - that darling ideolgy of champagne socialists everywhere.

20 October 2008 at 17:21  
Anonymous tomorrow belongs to mo said...

Teach British children what Muslims can do for them nowadays, especially those converts who are so impressed by the activities of the Prophet (pbuh) that they change their name to his:

20 October 2008 at 18:46  
Anonymous Tanfield said...

Your Grace
If this goes ahead it will provide a fertile breeding ground for the BNP - as if there isn't enough already.

20 October 2008 at 18:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Jim Knight have an education in history???????

I started school in 1965. Even in Junior school The Islamic world and its contribution to the west was mentioned and seriously discussed. The study of history is a simply vast undertaking which can not be completed in even several lifetimes. Most students struggle to fully understand one small section of it.

However at a higher level the student themselves decides which part interests them.

You can gain a PHD simply by knowing a vast amount about extremely little. This is not just true about history but is true about virtually all subjects that are studied at a high level. Which one important reason why academic historians usually talk utter crap.

May I suggest also that there is a difference between inventions that have come from the Islamic part of the world, and Islamic inventions or inventors. As much of the most useful things that came out of the middle east had nothing whatsoever to do Mohamed. The same could also be said about Jesus Christ.

In fact it could be very well argued that in both cases religion has held back progress not increased it for the common man. Established Religion is by definition part of the establishment. Therefore new technologies are only allowed to be used for the betterment of the common man if they primarily serve the interests of said establishment. Otherwise they rot in some dusty filing cabinet at the patent office forever.

The first thing a true student of history soon works out for themselves is that history books are largely works of propaganda and disinformation. There is often a world of difference between what a history book says happened and what actually happened. Churchill's idea of history for example, has more in common with Alice in Wonderland then true reality.

HIS-STORY, as they say, is written by the winners. However the truth is the truth however many dishonest people write what is essentially propaganda about past events.

Atlas Shrugged

20 October 2008 at 23:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Knight is a joker; is the "invention" of three course dinner a major boost to mankind? We'll in that case I'm staking my claim to be a benefactor by inventing the nineteen course dinner.


21 October 2008 at 06:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Celts invented Whiskey.

Nothing else is.

22 October 2008 at 18:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Knight is an illetrate, ignorant, stupid, moron.

23 October 2008 at 22:16  
Blogger Damo Mackerel said...

I would strongly recommend a Book called The Force of Reason by Oriana Fallaci. It debunks 'what the arabs/muslims did for us' mentality. Why politicians lick up to these Arabs/Muslims is because they are frightened of them. Our turn will come because of falling birth rates and the abandoment of Christianity. We are feeble minded modern fools.

24 October 2008 at 12:55  
Anonymous Emma Jane Cross, Chief Executive of Beatbullying said...

Hi Cranmer

I agree with you that the solution to religious and cultural divides is not to revise the education syllabus to reflect the positive contributions of one religion. In fact from our experience we often find that many children have a much stronger religious awareness than Mr Knight’s comments suggest.

Earlier this month Beatbullying published an Interfaith Report exploring young people’s attitudes to religious beliefs which found that 6 in 10 young people have an understanding of their peer’s religions and that 4 in 10 young people openly practice their religion compared with only 18% of adults.

The key is to tackle the bullying of religious beliefs in the playground and outside of school – teachers, local communities and the government need to work closely together to achieve this. The report found that 1 in 4 young people of all faiths have been bullied, often violently because of their faith or because they are perceived to be a member of a particular faith community – this is totally unacceptable. The government needs to step up support for schemes such as peer mentoring to tackle the real issue of bullying before it focuses on curriculum revision as a solution to the problem.

28 November 2008 at 10:06  

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