Take that Bill Maher! Islam kicks ass with 11 Muslim Nobel Laureates!
Malala Yousafzai's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize just over a week ago was not only just recognition of her contribution to the advancement of girl's education but a timely response to inflammatory and unfounded comments made by Bill Maher in July on his television show, Real Time with Bill Maher.
The American stand-up comic and political pundit suggested that Israel had become very good at defending itself largely due to Jewish expertise in science. “Jews have, I think, 155 Nobel Prizes, Muslims have two,” said Maher, calling it “kind of a big advantage for team Hebrew.” Looks like he skipped a few math classes (and suffered convenient amnesia regarding U.S. Israeli defense policy). Continue reading below »
Since the first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901 there have been over 850 Nobel Laureates. Jews walked away with at least 20% of the prizes, admirable, considering they make up less than 0.2% of humanity. (A website called Jewish Nobel Prize Winners says winners number 23% by counting people of partial Jewish ancestry.)
Past prizewinners have been Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu. Dozens are self-described atheists, and it’s a safe bet all prize-winning institutions are godless. Maher himself is an apatheist, highly critical of all religion. So why fire a provocative shot about underperforming Muslim prize-snagging? And how is recognition of superlative secular achievement a metric for comparing faiths?
Dial back a millennium, before Nobel Prizes. Muslims led the world in science and technology with a golden age spanning the 10th through 13th centuries. Things then collapsed, to be modestly reborn in the 19th century. Admittedly, the 20th century onward has been shway-shway (slow). Innovation is challenging in the midst of societal chaos.
Look beyond snarky TV hosts and see Muslim achievements are also discounted by some Muslims. In 1979, Abdus Salam was Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate, who saw science as an extension of his Islamic identity. He belonged to the Ahmadi sect, considered heretical by some as they don't believe Muhammad (PBOH) was the last prophet. In 1974, the Pakistani government decreed that 3 million Pakistani Ahmadis were not “legally” Muslim. Branded as apostates, they face perpetual prosecution, death threats, and destruction of their holy sites.
Shunned by his nation, Salam resigned his government post and moved to Europe, where he lived until his death in Oxford in 1996. He was buried in Pakistan beneath a gravestone that read, "First Muslim Nobel Laureate". A local official later ordered the word "Muslim" to be obscured.
Here are 11 Muslim Nobel Laureates you need to know about. Someone pass the news to Bill Maher!