Whose Name Sounds Threatening

.

What do we owe the Muslim other?

nothing
for one thing

I mean, literally,

zero
nada
cipher

zip

which I use each day in my work
calculating sums in the estimates
I make for the things we build

Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi
whose names sounds threatening
nevertheless gave me zero and
although I don’t use them much myself
(or well), trigonometry, sine,
tangent and cosine are consistently used today
by mathematicians and engineers
to make my life more comfortable and safe so
I thank Ibn Moosa for them as well

in my work I also take photos of houses
to remind me of certain details
when I’m drawing a floor plan or elevation
and thanks to Ibn Haytham,
who invented the Camera Obscura, I can do that

and when I print those drawings
there are the 8th century Muslims of Samargand
to whom I express appreciation since
they invented the means to make paper

and just yesterday I had a tooth pulled in Greenfield
and was prescribed a pain-killer concocted by some chemist
whose chemistry, according to Gibbons,
owes its origins to Muslims

I could go on thanking Muslims every day
for the things that make my life richer

but I could also curse them for the pain and suffering
a small faction of them are inflicting today and I do,
but to blame the rest of the 1.2 billion Muslims on earth for that
would be like blaming my good and devout Christian mother
for the Inquisition

by Jim Culleny
12/23/15

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