Five Surprising Places To Find Islamic History In The United States —By Furqan Shaikh on Muslim Matters org

In the current climate of political rhetoric against Islam and Muslims, it can be hard to remember that the United States has always been a country that has respected and acknowledged the contributions of people, places and ideas from outside its borders. While we often think of its inheritance from Greece or Rome, here is a quick tour of five surprising places where Islamic history, verses, or symbols have been represented and recognized by US institutions.

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1) Harvard Law School

2) The Supreme Court

3) The U.S. Capitol

4) The Dome of the Library of Congress

5) The Library of Thomas Jefferson

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The Dome of the Library of Congress

4) The Dome of the Library of Congress

Painted in 1897 by Edwin Blashfield, in the gigantic coffered dome above the main reading room of the Library of Congress is a mural of Human Understanding, depicted as a female flanked by two cherubs. Surrounding the mural are twelve winged figures representing epochs which were thought to have contributed to the evolution of Western civilization. The figures include Judea, Greece, Rome, Italy, Spain, England, France, and Islam. Islam is portrayed as a figure standing next to an alembic with a banner reading “Physics,” representing the contributions of Islamic physical sciences.

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That, perhaps, is what this tour can teach us. More than anything about Islam, these symbols are about America. They are about an openness to acknowledging America’s debt to a shared human heritage, a concept that seems to have been all but forgotten in today’s environment.

It is perhaps a lesson equally applicable now to both America and many Muslim-majority countries: it is only by recalling the best of our principles and traditions that we can defeat the worst of them.

Read Detail on Muslim Matters org

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