History in shadows: Exhibition in Turkey tells of Muslim world's contributions to science





ISTANBUL - For generations, the lore of "One Thousand and One Nights" helped shape Western notions about Muslim culture. The collection of tales described an exotic world of harems and flying carpets, Sinbad and monsters, Aladdin and the jinn, Ali Baba and the 40 thieves.

Now an exhibition about innovation in Muslim civilization seeks to highlight what organizers say is an overshadowed period of history, a "Golden Age" in which advances in engineering, medicine and architecture laid groundwork for Western progress from the Renaissance until modern times.

In a play on the old stories, it is titled: "1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World."

The show seeks to be strictly academic, and shuns political or religious pronouncements. But the robust response of many young Muslims suggests a thirst for cultural pride against a contemporary backdrop of conflict and suspicion between the West and Muslim countries....

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