Sunday, September 23, 2007

May I have another helping of whitewash, please?

I was thumbing through the PBS video catalog today and noticed a certain... well, attitude toward Islam in this description of the DVD Islam: Empire of Faith:

The riveting story of Islam's first 1,000 years. Watch as Islam sustains the intellectual legacies of Greece, Egypt, and China, and brings Europe immeasurable advances in science, medicine, and the arts during the Middle Ages.

Ah, I see. Islam was merely a movement to preserve the intellectual legacies of other civilizations and selflessly share them out with benighted regions like Europe.

Got it. Thanks, PBS. Good thing we can count on you to spend our tax dollars wisely, as you fearlessly expose the chief impact Islam has had on the non-Islamic world. Which wouldn't be 1,500 years of war, rapine, and religious bigotry, of course. Those were only the regrettable, minor aberrations of a few zealots. Who can blame them, really, if they became understandably frustrated when their humanitarian efforts to broaden the reach of Aristotle's Poetics were so ungratefully misunderstood?