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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Acceptance is better, says Islamic Contributions to Civilization panel

Count back 800 years ago to the European Dark Ages. While people in the western world suffered from a stunt of knowledge and a plethora of diseases, in the east science and mathematics were flourishing in an Islamic society.
MSC L.T. Jordan Institute of International Awareness teamed up with the Muslim Student Association and the Department of Multicultural Services Wednesday night to bring campus a panel on Islamic Contributions to Civilization. Five panelists in the fields of history, mathematics and science emphasized the importance of acceptance of other cultures in a time of globalization.
Gul Russell acted as moderator for the panel. She began the night by saying cultures were invisible walls keeping people from accepting other people.
“We are constantly confronted by globalization,” Russell said. “However, we are all imprisoned by invisible walls enforced by our own cultures. The barrier is between ‘us’ and ‘them;’ perhaps tonight some of those barriers will be eroded.”
Russell said medieval Islamic society created a cosmopolitan entity that accepted people of all faiths and ethnicities. Her speech and the panelists’ presentations aimed to show the positive contributions Islamic society has made to current civilization.
Russell said Arabic became the language of science and mathematics during the Dark Ages. The numerals predominantly used by the world are Arabic.
The second speaker, Basheer Ahmed, said Greek and Roman scholarly texts were translated into Arabic and saved from extinction during the European Dark Ages, which stopped scientific, medical and scholarly work because it was seen as oppositions to religious dogma.
The third speaker, astronomy professor Kevin Krisciunas, said most of the stars visible to the naked eye have Arabic names.
“For many centuries, it did not matter what religion you were,” Krisciunas said. “It mattered that you were a good mathematician and scientist. People of different faiths got along well together researching in science.”
The overarching message was a plea to the audience to appreciate other faiths and to accept them.

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