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Steve King needs some history lessons

In an appearance on MSNBC on Monday, July 18, 2016, an American lawmaker, Representative Steve Arnold King questioned the historical contributions of non-white ‘subgroups’ to…

In an appearance on MSNBC on Monday, July 18, 2016, an American lawmaker, Representative Steve Arnold King questioned the historical contributions of non-white ‘subgroups’ to civilisation. King was reacting to a panelist from Esquire magazine who had suggested that the 2016 convention could be the last in which “the old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention.” King is the lawmaker representing the 4th District of Iowa in the United States of America (USA) on the platform of the Republican Party. He has been serving in congress since 2003. Before then, the 67-year-old politician was a member of the Iowa Senate from the 6th district from 1997-2003.
In defence of the racial homogeneity of his political party (the Republican Party) during the media interaction, King asked: “Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilisation?” Even when the MSNBC host, Chris Hayes, cut in and asked: “Than white people?” King responded saying: “Than Western civilisation that’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the USA…” A reporter on the panel, April Ryan, who is black was so stunned at King’s brazen racism that he asked King: “What about Africa? What about Asia?” MSNBC is an American basic cable and satellite television network that provides news coverage and political commentary on current events.
King’s racist comments depict his steep appalling ignorance of history. Readers and observers who are familiar with King’s educational background will express no shock or surprise at his poor knowledge of not just the accurate account of Western civilisation but also of the evolution of human civilisation and its history. King left Northwest Missouri State University in 1970 three years in to his studies without earning a degree. King once said on the floor of the House on June 14, 2010 that “racial profiling is an important component of law enforcement.”
Civilisation simply refers to the complex aspect of human cultures that reveals man’s ingenuity to adapt and make life worth living in the environment he finds himself. Some of the civilisations witnessed by man from the Palaeolithic age to the present-day include Mesopotamian Civilisation, Egyptian Civilisation, Hellenic (or Greek) Civilisation, Byzantine Civilisation, Islamic or Muslim Civilisation, and Western Civilisation. The West couldn’t have accessed modern science and technology without the translation works of Arab scholars. The world, after the fall of Rome, saw the emergence of Muslim civilisation among the Arabs of Arabia. With capital at Baghdad, the Muslim world during the caliphate of Harun al-Rashid (reigned 786-809) is described by the united opinion of history and legend as the most brilliant period of intellectualism. The golden age of Muslim Civilisation reached its apogee in the ninth century under the Abbasid Caliphs.
By translating Greek works into Arabic and commenting on them, Arab and Persian Muslim scholars performed the enormous historical task of preserving the philosophic and scientific heritage of Greek philosophers and scientists; a body of knowledge they equally passed on to Christian Europe. The most celebrated of all translators of Greek scientific works in to Arabic was Hunayn bn Ishaq al-‘Abadi (d. 877). Many of the early Arab philosophers were influenced by Aristotelian theories through their study of Greek scientific materials. They include Abu Yusuf Ya’qub bn Ishaq al-Kindi (d. after 873) commonly known as ‘the philosopher of the Arabs;’ Abu Nasr Muhammad al-Farabi (d. 950); Ibn Sina (or Avicenna d. 1037) and Ibn Rushdi (or Averoes d. 1198).
The era of translation (750-850) laid the literary foundation that helped the Arabs to assimilate the classical heritage of Greece. Apart from being translators of Greek works, Arab scholars carried on with original thinking and research; adding new dimensions to the already established theories and concepts. Their works were transmitted together with their contributions to Europe through Syria, Spain and Sicily; laying the basis of knowledge that dominated medieval European thought.
Although a newspaper column of half a page is inadequate to properly educate King and his likes about the contributions of non-white people of the world to human civilisation, it is important to mention a few great men and women of black African origin here. Some of these great names include Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), the three-time world heavyweight  boxing champion; Pele who was born in 1940 remains the greatest footballer of the century; Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), a freedom fighter who dedicated his life campaigning for an end to apartheid in South Africa; Oprah Winfrey (born 1954), a media personality in the USA with ground breaking television chats; Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) who wrote the 1958 classic novel, ‘Things Fall Apart,’ Barack Hussein Obama (Born 1961), the 44th and current President of the USA; James Brown (1933-2006), the founding father of funk music; Serena Williams (Born 1981), the black American without whose name the story of the game of tennis in the USA would be incomplete. Ben Carson is another big black name that remains the pride of blacks around the world. He was, before the 2016 primaries, a Republican Party presidential candidate in the US.
Ben Carson (Born Sept 1951) is a celebrated professor and paediatric neurosurgeon who worked for three decades and retired in 2013 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. Carson’s achievements include performing the first and only successful neurosurgery that lasted 22 hours in the operating theatre for the separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head. He pioneered the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a foetus inside the womb. Carson became the youngest chief of paediatric neurosurgery in the US at age 33. He has received more than 60 honourary doctorate degrees, dozens of national merit citations, and written over 100 neurosurgical publications. Where for instance, was King and other white people when Carson was burning candles at Yale University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor? If Carson had not made exceptional contributions to human civilisation, why was he honoured in 2008 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US?
President Obama should tell King not to use all the machines or appliances invented by non-white people of Arab, African and Persian origin. Indeed, King should henceforth stop using zero when writing figures; remove the CCTV cameras around his office; stop using microphone; and stop obeying traffic signal while driving because they were invented by non-white subgroups. Obama should also advise congressman King to go back to the same university he dropped out from in 1970 to study the history of human civilisation. May Allah (SWT) touch the heart of Steve King to eschew racism, amin.

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