First Published: 2009-09-11

Free copy of Arab Science textbook for US/UK Schools

1001 Inventions book seeks to tell story of cultural origins of present day modern science.


Middle East Online

By Junaid Abbas Bhatti - LONDON

Artistic impression of Ibn al-Haitham & the camera obscura he invented

An educational foundation has announced plans to distribute free books to US and UK schools to highlight the scientific and cultural legacy of Muslim civilisation.

1001 Inventions is the brainchild of the Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) a network of academics dedicated to debunking the myth of the so-called Dark Ages of Civilisation.

Last month, atheism activist Richard Dawkins announced plans to distribute free DVDs to British schools. Whilst FSTC does not consider its 1001 Inventions campaign a direct challenge to Dawkins, it does hope to encourage debate about the relationship between science, faith and culture.

FSTC has campaigned for school curriculums to acknowledge the scientific achievements of Muslim civilization for more than a decade. While the Dawkins campaign positions science and religion as opposing forces, the 1001 Inventions project reminds us that for 1000 years the religious and the scientific were comfortable bedfellows and led to unprecedented openness to new ideas and social change.

The book that accompanies the project is entitled 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World and highlights the thousand years of social, scientific and technical achievements that are currently under-recognised in schools textbooks.

The project aspires to deliver 3,000 copies of the book to UK schools in the next month, and is seeking public support for the campaign through a sponsorship scheme (as has Dawkins).

The period between the 7th and 17th centuries, that has been erroneously labeled The Dark Ages was in fact a time of exceptional scientific and cultural advancement in China, India and the Arab world," explained Professor Salim Al-Hassani, chief editor of the book

"This is the period in history that gave us the first manned flight, huge advances in engineering, the development of robotics and the foundations of modern mathematics, chemistry and physics," he added.

Professor Al-Hassani is emeritus professor of Mechanical, Aerospace and Manufacturing Engineering Department at UMIST and currently a residing professor at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, University of Manchester.

Whilst the Dawkins DVD teaches young people about the experimental scientific method, it fails to point out that it was pioneered by a religious physicist called Ibn-Al Haytham, who saw no conflict in being both a Muslim and a scientist," noted Al-Hassani.

"Our campaign is working to tell the story of the cultural origins of our present day science. A story that is often missing from our textbooks, he added.

The 1001 Inventions campaign was launched by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC); a not-for-profit, non-religious and non-political body based in the UK but supported by academics from across the globe.

The project has attracted the support of leading educators, scientists and politicians.

The book 1001 Inventions comes with a DVD, a poster set for classrooms, a free Teachers Pack and lesson plans.

A nationwide campaign will be launched in September across the USA and UK encouraging parents and teachers to provide children with a fair and accurate understanding of the debt modern society owes to other civilisations.

For more information, visit: and


Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting