Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (973 – after 1050) was a Persian scholar and polymath. He was from Khwarazm – a region which encompasses modern-day western Uzbekistan, and northern Turkmenistan.
Al-Biruni was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences, and also distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist and linguist. He studied almost all fields of science and was compensated for his research and strenuous work. Royalty and powerful members of society sought out Al-Biruni to conduct research and study to uncover certain findings. He lived during the Islamic Golden Age. In addition to this type of influence, Al-Biruni was also influenced by other nations, such as the Greeks, who he took inspiration from when he turned to studies of philosophy. He was conversant in Khwarezmian, Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, and also knew Greek, Hebrew and Syriac. He spent much of his life in Ghazni, then capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty, in modern-day central-eastern Afghanistan. In 1017 he travelled to the Indian subcontinent and authored a study of Indian culture Tārīkh al-Hind (History of India) after exploring the Hindu faith practiced in India. He was given the title "founder of Indology". He was an impartial writer on customs and creeds of various nations, and was given the title al-Ustadh ("The Master") for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India.
- "Abū Rayhān Bīrūnī -- Medieval Islamic Scientist, quite a read... " | 2008-09-15 | 55 Upvotes 50 Comments
Abū al-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī (Arabic: أبو العلاء المعري, full name أبو العلاء أحمد بن عبد الله بن سليمان التنوخي المعري Abū al-ʿAlāʾ Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sulaymān al-Tanūkhī al-Maʿarrī; December 973 – May 1057) was a blind Arab philosopher, poet, and writer. Despite holding a controversially irreligious worldview, he is regarded as one of the greatest classical Arabic poets.
Born in the city of Ma'arra during the Abbasid era, he studied in nearby Aleppo, then in Tripoli and Antioch. Producing popular poems in Baghdad, he nevertheless refused to sell his texts. In 1010, he returned to Syria after his mother began declining in health, and continued writing which gained him local respect.
Described as a "pessimistic freethinker", al-Ma'arri was a controversial rationalist of his time, citing reason as the chief source of truth and divine revelation. He was pessimistic about life, describing himself as "a double prisoner" of blindness and isolation. He attacked religious dogmas and practices, was equally critical and sarcastic about Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism, and became a Deist.
He advocated social justice and lived a secluded, ascetic lifestyle. He was a vegan, known in his time as moral vegetarianism, entreating: "do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals / Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught / for their young". Al-Ma'arri held an antinatalist outlook, in line with his general pessimism, suggesting that children should not be born to spare them of the pains and suffering of life.
Al-Ma'arri wrote three main works that were popular in his time. Among his works are The Tinder Spark, Unnecessary Necessity, and The Epistle of Forgiveness. Al-Ma'arri never married and died at the age of 83 in the city where he was born, Ma'arrat al-Nu'man. In 2013, a statue of al-Ma'arri located in his Syrian hometown was beheaded by jihadists from the al-Nusra Front.
- "Al-Maʿarri" | 2019-06-20 | 103 Upvotes 55 Comments
Anti-gay purges in the Chechen Republic, a part of the Russian Federation, have included forced disappearances — secret abductions, imprisonment, torture — and extrajudicial killing by authorities targeting persons based on their perceived sexual orientation. An unknown number of people, who authorities detained on suspicion of being gay or bisexual, have reportedly died after being held in what human rights groups and eyewitnesses have called concentration camps.
Allegations were initially reported on 1 April 2017 in Novaya Gazeta, a Russian-language opposition newspaper, which reported that since February 2017 over 100 men had allegedly been detained and tortured and at least three had died in an extrajudicial killing. The paper, citing its sources in the Chechen special services, called the wave of detentions a "prophylactic sweep". The journalist who first reported on the subject went into hiding. There have been calls for reprisals against journalists who report on the situation.
As news spread of Chechen authorities' actions, which have been described as part of a systematic anti-LGBT purge, Russian and international activists scrambled to evacuate survivors of the camps and other vulnerable Chechens but were met with difficulty obtaining visas to conduct them safely beyond Russia.
The reports of the persecution were met with a variety of reactions worldwide. The Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov denied not only the occurrence of any persecution but also the existence of gay men in Chechnya, adding that such people would be killed by their own families. Officials in Moscow were skeptical, although in late May the Russian government reportedly agreed to send an investigative team to Chechnya. Numerous national leaders and other public figures in the West condemned Chechnya's actions, and protests were held in Russia and elsewhere. A report released in December 2018 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed claims that persecution of LGBT persons had taken place and was ignored by authorities.
On 11 January 2019, it was reported that another 'gay purge' had begun in the country in December 2018, with several gay men and women being detained. The Russian LGBT Network believes that around 40 persons were detained and two killed.
- "Gay concentration camps in Chechnya (April 2017)" | 2017-04-14 | 40 Upvotes 13 Comments
Everybody Draw Mohammed Day (or Draw Mohammed Day) was a 2010 event in support of artists threatened with violence for drawing representations of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It stemmed from a protest against censorship of the American television show South Park episode "201", led by the show's distributor Comedy Central, in response to death threats that had been made against some of those responsible for two segments broadcast in April 2010. A drawing representing Mohammed was posted on the Internet on April 20, 2010, with a message suggesting that "everybody" create a drawing depicting Mohammad on May 20 in support of free speech.
U.S. cartoonist Molly Norris of Seattle, Washington created the artwork in reaction to Internet death threats that had been made against animators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for depicting Muhammad in an episode of South Park. Postings on RevolutionMuslim.com (under the pen name Abu Talha al-Amrikee; later identified as Zachary Adam Chesser) had said that Parker and Stone could wind up like Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was stabbed and shot to death.
Norris claimed that, if people draw pictures of Muhammad, radical Islamist terrorists would not be able to murder them all, and threats to do so would become unrealistic. Within a week, Norris' idea became popular on Facebook, was supported by numerous bloggers, and generated coverage on the blog websites of major U.S. newspapers. As the publicity mounted, Norris and the man who created the first Facebook page promoting the May 20 event disassociated themselves from it. Nonetheless, planning for the protest continued with others "taking up the cause". Facebook had an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" page, which grew to over 100,000 participants (101,870 members by May 20). A protest page on Facebook against the initiative named "Against ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'" attracted slightly more supporters (106,000 by May 20). Subsequently, Facebook was temporarily blocked by Pakistan; the ban was lifted after Facebook agreed to block the page for users in India and Pakistan.
In the media, Everybody Draw Mohammed Day attracted support from commentators who felt that the campaign represented important issues of freedom of speech, and the need to stand up for this freedom.
- "Today is Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" | 2010-05-20 | 93 Upvotes 196 Comments
Badīʿ az-Zaman Abu l-ʿIzz ibn Ismāʿīl ibn ar-Razāz al-Jazarī (1136–1206, Arabic: بديع الزمان أَبُ اَلْعِزِ إبْنُ إسْماعِيلِ إبْنُ الرِّزاز الجزري, IPA: [ældʒæzæriː]) was a Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, artisan, artist and mathematician. He is best known for writing The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (Arabic: كتاب في معرفة الحيل الهندسية, romanized: Kitab fi ma'rifat al-hiyal al-handasiya, lit. 'Book in knowledge of engineering tricks') in 1206, where he described 100 mechanical devices, some 80 of which are trick vessels of various kinds, along with instructions on how to construct them.
- "Al-Jazari" | 2014-09-07 | 286 Upvotes 122 Comments
This is a list of common misconceptions. Each entry is formatted as a correction; the misconceptions themselves are implied rather than stated. These entries are meant to be concise, but more detail can be found in the main subject articles.
Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (Persian: Muḥammad Khwārizmī محمد بن موسی خوارزمی; c. 780 – c. 850), Arabized as al-Khwarizmi with al- and formerly Latinized as Algorithmi, was a Persian polymath who produced works in mathematics, astronomy, and geography. Around 820 CE he was appointed as the astronomer and head of the library of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.
Al-Khwarizmi's popularizing treatise on algebra (The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, c. 813–833 CE) presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. One of his principal achievements in algebra was his demonstration of how to solve quadratic equations by completing the square, for which he provided geometric justifications. Because he was the first to treat algebra as an independent discipline and introduced the methods of "reduction" and "balancing" (the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation, that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation), he has been described as the father or founder of algebra. The term algebra itself comes from the title of his book (specifically the word al-jabr meaning "completion" or "rejoining"). His name gave rise to the terms algorism and algorithm. His name is also the origin of (Spanish) guarismo and of (Portuguese) algarismo, both meaning digit.
In the 12th century, Latin translations of his textbook on arithmetic (Algorithmo de Numero Indorum) which codified the various Indian numerals, introduced the decimal positional number system to the Western world. The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, translated into Latin by Robert of Chester in 1145, was used until the sixteenth century as the principal mathematical text-book of European universities.
In addition to his best-known works, he revised Ptolemy's Geography, listing the longitudes and latitudes of various cities and localities. He further produced a set of astronomical tables and wrote about calendaric works, as well as the astrolabe and the sundial. He also made important contributions to trigonometry, producing accurate sine and cosine tables, and the first table of tangents.
- "Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi" | 2016-04-06 | 14 Upvotes 1 Comments
The Xinjiang re-education camps, officially called Vocational Education and Training Centers by the government of the People's Republic of China, are internment camps that have been operated by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government for the purpose of indoctrinating Uyghurs since 2017 as part of a "people's war on terror" announced in 2014. The camps were established under General Secretary Xi Jinping's administration and led by party secretary, Chen Quanguo. These camps are reportedly operated outside the legal system; many Uyghurs have reportedly been interned without trial and no charges have been levied against them. Local authorities are reportedly holding hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in these camps as well as other ethnic minority groups, for the stated purpose of countering extremism and terrorism and promoting sinicization.
As of 2018, it was estimated that the Chinese authorities may have detained hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other ethnic Turkic Muslims, Christians as well as some foreign citizens such as Kazakhstanis, who are being held in these secretive internment camps which are located throughout the region. In May 2018, Randall Schriver of the United States Department of Defense claimed that "at least a million but likely closer to three million citizens" were imprisoned in detention centers in a strong condemnation of the "concentration camps". In August 2018, a United Nations human rights panel said that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uyghurs in China have been held in "re-education camps". There have also been multiple reports from media, politicians and researchers comparing the camps to the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
In 2019, the United Nations ambassadors from 22 nations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom signed a letter condemning China's mass detention of the Uyghurs and other minority groups, urging the Chinese government to close the camps. Conversely, a joint statement was signed by 37 states commending China's counter-terrorism program in Xinjiang, including Algeria, the DR Congo, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea, Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines and Sudan.
- "Xinjiang Re-Education Camps" | 2019-10-03 | 46 Upvotes 24 Comments
A bimaristan (Persian: بيمارستان, romanized: bīmārestān; Arabic: بِيْمَارِسْتَان, romanized: bīmāristān), also known as dar al-shifa (also darüşşifa in Turkish) or simply maristan, is a hospital in the historic Islamic world.
- "Locating a hospital by hanging meat around the city (981CE)" | 2020-11-25 | 121 Upvotes 39 Comments
The Uyghur genocide is the ongoing series of human rights abuses perpetrated by the government of China against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities in and around the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People's Republic of China. Since 2014, the Chinese government, under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the administration of CCP general secretary Xi Jinping, has pursued policies leading to more than one million Muslims (the majority of them Uyghurs) being held in secretive internment camps without any legal process in what has become the largest-scale and most systematic detention of ethnic and religious minorities since the Holocaust and World War II. Thousands of mosques have been destroyed or damaged, and hundreds of thousands of children have been forcibly separated from their parents and sent to boarding schools.
These policies have been described by critics as the forced assimilation of Xinjiang, as well as an ethnocide or cultural genocide. Some governments, activists, independent NGOs, human rights experts, academics, government officials, and the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile have called it a genocide.
In particular, critics have highlighted the concentration of Uyghurs in state-sponsored internment camps, suppression of Uyghur religious practices, political indoctrination, severe ill-treatment, as well as extensive evidence and other testimonials detailing human rights abuses including forced sterilization, contraception, abortion, and infanticides. Chinese government statistics show that from 2015 to 2018, birth rates in the mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar fell by more than 60%. In the same period, the birth rate of the whole country decreased by 9.69%, from 12.07 to 10.9 per 1,000 people. Chinese authorities acknowledged that birth rates dropped by almost a third in 2018 in Xinjiang, but denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide. Birth rates fell nearly 24% in 2019 (compared to a nationwide decrease of just 4.2%).
International reactions have been sharply divided, with dozens of United Nations (UN) member states issuing opposing letters to the United Nations Human Rights Council in support and condemnation of China's policies in Xinjiang in 2020. In December 2020, the International Criminal Court declined to take investigative action against China on the basis of not having jurisdiction over China for most of the alleged crimes. The United States was the first country to declare the human rights abuses a genocide, announcing its determination on January 19, 2021, although the US State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove genocide. This was followed by Canada's House of Commons and the Dutch parliament each passing a non-binding motion in February 2021 to recognize China's actions as genocide. Later, in April 2021, the United Kingdom's House of Commons unanimously passed a non-binding motion to recognize the actions as genocide. In May 2021 the New Zealand parliament unanimously declared that "severe human rights abuses" were occurring against the Uyghur people in China and the Seimas of Lithuania passed a resolution that recognized the Chinese government's abuse of the Uyghurs as a genocide.