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Islam confined its followers to a Single Book?!

In a speech given at the 2009 O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference, while attempting to highlight the advances in print and press technology, Jason Epstein, declared:  “Retrograde Islam banned Gutenberg’s technology as satanic, confining its followers within a single book.”

Granted, Mr. Epstein is a successful business person with a keen sense of emerging trends. But his grasp of history and his understanding of the Islamic civilization are either spectacularly bigoted, stunningly ignorant, or patently false-authoritative; if not all of the above.

When Europe was in a state of somnolent, snoozing in the emptiness of the Dark Ages and Medieval Times, it was the Islamic civilization that labored in the production of its own heritage and in the translation of timeless literature from the Greek, Persian, Indian, and even Roman civilizations. Before many Europeans learned to read and write, the Islamic civilization was building bridges between ancient and modern communities; an activity without which Europe would have remained a bit longer in the Dark Ages. Remember that the Europe of the Middle Ages that you are accrediting with enlightening the world was the same Europe that burned books because such books did not meet the standards of orthodoxy (recall the cartloads of Talmuds and philosophy books burned from 12th _ 17th centuries by order of religious and political leaders).

No single nation or single person can be or should be accredited with advancing a human civilization because civilizations have no borders, no race, no religion, and no ethnicity. It was not Gutenberg who reinvented the world; it is humanity that produces civilizations. Islam did not confine its followers within a single book, as you claim; Islam and the Islamic civilization contributed to the advancement of your ancestors. Mr. Epstein, your hubris is astonishing, your generalizations are mind-numbing, and your Euro-centrism is thwarting. For you comment that Islam confined its followers to a single book, Mr. Epstein, you earned a spot on What the &%@#!

Image Caption: Islamic books and copies of the Quran being burnt in Spain during the campaign to eradicate Islam.

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