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Nobel Laureate Wiped From Pakistan's Textbooks As Heretic 445

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Alexander Abad-Santos writes that in any other country, the late Dr. Abdus Salam would be a national hero: he's the Nobel laureate in physics who laid the groundwork for the biggest physics discovery in the past 30 years--the Higgs boson. But that isn't the case in Pakistan, where Salam has been wiped from textbooks and history for not being fundamentalist enough. 'He belonged to the Ahmadi sect, which has been persecuted by the government and targeted by Taliban militants who view its members as heretics,' says Sebastian Abbot. 'His grand unification theory of strong, weak and electromagnetic fields opened the gateway for the discovery of bosons and laid down the basis for this quantum electrodynamics project,' writes Anam Khalid Alvi for Pakistan's Express Tribune. But Pakistan can't celebrate his achievements, since Ahmadis like Salam are and were prevented from 'posing as Muslims,' and can be punished with prison and even death. By contrast, fellow Pakistani physicist A.Q. Khan, who played a key role in developing the country's nuclear bomb and later confessed to spreading nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, is considered a national hero. Khan is a Muslim."
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Nobel Laureate Wiped From Pakistan's Textbooks As Heretic

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  • Ah don't worry... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:15PM (#40595763) Homepage

    Remember, it's all fine, carry on. They keep saying it's a religion of peace and all that. Don't forget that they scrubbed "muslim" off his grave. And other muslims in the region are expected to go out of their way to persecute them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Lordy, if I had a nickel for every time I'd heard one group or another referred to with derision as, "not real Christians". And another nickel for every time someone tried to get some basic scientific theory removed from school, or shoehorn some religious nonsense into classrooms.

      It's certainly not the same, but I'd wager that's just a minor wealth and cultural difference. Give us time.

    • Look up Alan Turing and what he was prosecuted for by the SECULAR government.

      Look up how the Catholic church has treated scientists throughout its history.

      Look up the Protestants in the USofA right now to see how they are trying to hide parts of history that they don't like.

      This is more about a party in power trying to re-write history LIKE MOST PARTIES IN POWER DO than it is about evil Muslims being all evil and Muslim.

    • Just wait until a US political leader announces that he or she is an atheist, then watch how quickly that person gets erased from political life.

      But those crazy religious people over there in Oogaboogastan are totally worse than our crazy religious people. Totally.

      • by stdarg ( 456557 )

        That's a funny example. I wonder what you think would happen in Oogaboogastan if a Muslim political leader announced he or she is an atheist. You think they would get erased from political life? OR erased from life?

        I guess you think the crazy religious people over there are just the same as our crazy religious people. You should try reading international news sometime.

    • Re:Ah don't worry... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @09:27PM (#40598463)

      Don't forget that they scrubbed "muslim" off his grave. And other muslims in the region are expected to go out of their way to persecute them.

      This, incidentally, highlights a key point in understanding Wahhabism and Qutbism. However much you think that this particular brand of Islamism is a threat to the West, you're far more likely to be killed, persecuted or generally targeted by them if you're Muslim.

      To put it another way, the fact that Al Qaeda and the Taliban is far more of a threat to Islam than to anything else could be considered evidence that (mainstream) Islam is a religion of peace. That's why they hate it so much.

  • Soon to be -1... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:17PM (#40595775) Homepage Journal

    It's coming soon to the U.S. Don't think they want this sort of thing to happen to Texas schoolbooks.

    • It already is in the U.S. It's called democracy. If 51% of the population wants this, they get it. They can be wrong, but it's their choice.
      • The US isn't a democracy. It's a constitutional republic. There are limits to what the majority can get. Slavery isn't coming back without a constitutional amendment, and that's hard enough to get for things most people think are probably reasonable policies but don't want in the Constitution itself.

      • by Quila ( 201335 )

        This is where adhering to the Constitution would be cool. It would stop something like this as a simple majority in its tracks. You'd need 75% to push it through.

        But years of a liberal interpretation of the Constitution as a "living" document means that all we need is 51% in Congress and a majority of nine judges to make it happen.

        So, for a gay liberal who cheered the recent opinion on Obamacare, remember that when you're up for execution for being homosexual.

        • So, for a gay liberal who cheered the recent opinion on Obamacare, remember that when you're up for execution for being homosexual.

          What about us straight people who cheer the opinion?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      It's coming soon to the U.S. Don't think they want this sort of thing to happen to Texas schoolbooks.

      Texas, Kansas and perhaps another few states. Radical fundamentalism isn't just for Muslims and it's no stranger to setting progress back throughout history.

      OK, the moons I saw around Jupiter were going around the Earth, too.

      • Indeed - extremes are generally bad when it comes to people. Religious beliefs are not exempt from this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wondered how long it would take for someone to try to take the attention off the matter at hand and turn it around on the US. Wow. Just wow.

      • I think it is partially just people who are very self centered. They need everything to be about their lives. So when there is a story about things happening in other nations, they have to try to find a way to spin it around to be about the US, so it is about them. There is a story about something, good or bad, in another nation and they have to start up with how it is or is not like that in the US and so on and so forth. They continually steer the discussion back to themselves.

        The other part is for some pe

    • It is nothing but ignorance to conflate Radical Islam with Evangelical Christianity.

      Yeah, we get that it fits your "All Religion Is Evil / All Religion is Anti-Science" prejudiced screed, but it's just not a valid comparison. All you're doing is trying to rile people up and/or get them to march to the drumbeats of your own bigotry, like so many Evangelical Atheists enjoy doing.

      Comparing the Extremism the Fundamentalist Islamists get away with around the world to whatever drama the Fundamentalist Christians

      • by Boronx ( 228853 )

        Christians used to be this bad and they're getting worse again. They are becoming increasingly insulated from other ways of thinking and increasingly bigoted. This is in the US, of course, but I have no hope that it won't spread elsewhere

        So yeah, Christianity is a lot better now, and Islam is still the worst, but the trend isn't good.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        So bombing is different if the victims are abortion doctors?

        The only difference is degree.
        Both of these are groups that oppress women and support the use of violence to spread their own flavor of crazy.

      • by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:06PM (#40596373) Journal
        Comparing the Extremism the Fundamentalist Islamists get away with around the world to whatever drama the Fundamentalist Christians try to perpetrate is -- really -- just ridiculous.

        Not really - Just a matter of degree, limited solely by how much power each group has over their respective countries... AIDS sucks more than the flu, but you don't really want to catch either of them.

        But hey, I hear ya - It makes perfect sense to devote the full resources of the US government to hashing out whether or not whores... er... "young women"... should have the right to autonomy over their own bodies when it comes to reproductive health. Certainly, no fine upstanding Fundies would suggest beating people to death [] just because their god whispers sweet, sweet nothings to them in the dark...

        Religion is a disease, which any sane person would seek to cure ASAP.
      • Having been raised Christian, I would like to agree that my inherited religion is the nobler one, but I feel it is necessary to point out that a) there is a lot of equally ludicrous effort in the United States [q.v. young-earth creationism, Sarah Palin who does the speaking-in-tongues bit, anti-evolution activities, etc.] and b) supposedly Christian nations have perpetrated warfare and genocide on other people at the behest of their holiest teachings [q.v. Deuteronomy chapters 7 and 20, The Crusades, and th

    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      Not in the US! I mean religious in the US would never downplay the contributions of deists ( [] ) or exaggerate the religiosity of other founding fathers ( [] [] ), and then used that fictional history to complain about how we're moving away from what the founding fathers wanted
      • or exaggerate the religiosity of other founding fathers ( []

        This page contains numerous internet lies, the primary one being the fake quotes about Lincoln not being Christian and denying the bible. The only sources for that quote are pages like this one. There are no credible sources for most of the crap on this page except other angry anti-Christian web pages. It's like a circle of perpetual, meaningless crap that endures through the sheer fury of those slinging it.

    • Whaddaya mean, coming soon?
      Thomas Jefferson removed from Texas history standards []

      The reason they decided to de-emphasize Jefferson was that he coined the phrase "separation of church and state". They replaced him with St Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and William Blackstone.

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        The reason they decided to de-emphasize Jefferson was that he coined the phrase "separation of church and state".

        Well, that's the reported excuse. Journalists...

        I suspect the real reason for the hatred towards Jefferson is the famous Jefferson Bible. Jefferson and his bible has gotta be a kick in the nuts for the mythological belief in the founding fathers being hard core fundamentalists. []

  • Rather a shame the way people can't respect one faith from another.

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:38PM (#40596037)

      Personally I am an atheist, but it seems that low-levels of religious belief seem to do most people little harm and some good and at least in smaller communities seem to provide a certain amount of greater good & charity which might otherwise go missing.

      It would be nice if the people involved could just enjoy getting together for the sake of getting together and do charitable works because helping people is usually the right thing to do without shame-based moralizing and all the hocus pocus, but human experience seems to suggest a more Hobbesian outcome without some kind of organizational direction.

  • Meow (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've always thought the Ahmadis (there's actually two Ahmadi sects) are appealing to Western converts. They talk a lot about pluralism, etc, and seem to mean it. Alas, they aren't quite as progressive as I'd like on LGBT rights. A lot of their commitment to pluralism probably comes from being persecuted in traditionally Muslim countries.

  • Backwards country (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:22PM (#40595863) Homepage

    What kind of backwards country would modify their curriculum to fit religious ideals? []

  • I am laughing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:28PM (#40595925)
    A group of idiots deprives themselves of an opportunity to feel some extra national pride in what can only be described as "shitting into one's own shoes", if I were to literally translate a proverb from my native tongue. Serves them right. I wouldn't want to be in their textbooks either, I'd feel dirty.
    • Instead, the poor guy realized that he won't ever gain the notoriety of that other, more religious, scientist, and full of anger shouted:


  • by cvtan ( 752695 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:28PM (#40595933)
    "Religious" governments are ALWAYS a bad idea.
    • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:19PM (#40596523)

      I couldn't agree more.

      Yet there is one faction of our government here in the US that has played the religion card since the "Southern Strategy". Barry Goldwater decried that they would never be rid of them.

      And so far he's been more than right - it's only gotten worse.

      The percentage of people in the US who are creationists is always polled in the high 40s. We're not that far away from Pakistan. While it may seem like a good political idea to pander to religious nutters, all we have to do to look at what would happen without the "wall of separation between Church & State", as Jefferson put it in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, is to look to the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, et al. And if you listen to many Republicans, especially the ones who are dominionists and members of The Family, they're not that far off from the Taliban. Don't forget, there were *four* Republican candidates running for President that "God" told them to run. Fortunately all 4 dropped out. God's got a sense of humour, apparently.

      But the fact remains, we had 4 wild-eyed religious whackos running for President and they were all treated seriously. That was unprecedented. And the broader Republican caucus is full of moronic bible thumpers.

      Barry Goldwater spins in his grave at high RPM. I am working on wrapping his dust and the dust of Roger Williams and William Penn in coils of wire to generate electricity and solve the energy crisis. I just need grant or VC money.


    • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:26PM (#40596611) Homepage

      Are they? Looking at history, all the most successful government before the 20th century had implied or official state religions. And even in the mundane, there's plenty of examples such as Pre-Communist Russia, which was officially Orthodox and where the church had a great deal of power, wasn't the most successful government. But at least it didn't murder tens of millions of its own citizens.

    • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:46PM (#40596811)

      You mean like Great Britain's theocracy?

      It hasn't been a practical theocracy for a while, but the Queen is the head of the state church and the Church of England has representation in the House of Lords.

      [there that will stir things up a bit]

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:28PM (#40595937)

    It was electroweak unification. Important enough.

    (So far, all attempts at grand unification have failed, including Einstein's.)

    • Wasn't Einstein the one who proposed the concept of a grand unified theory? The first person to try should hardly be expected to succeed at a monumental task. Shoulders of giants, and all that.

  • Anything they can do to unwind the clock several hundreds of years is great for the rest of us. Hopefully they'll outlaw literacy soon and get to breeding out of all sense of control or reason.

  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @04:45PM (#40596105)

    Khan is a Muslim.

    Yes, and so was Dr. Abdus Salam.

  • The U.S. should invade Pakistan and never leave until they get their textbooks right.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      The U.S. should invade Pakistan and never leave until they get their textbooks right.

      Maybe we should start with Texas first.

  • by jheath314 ( 916607 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:11PM (#40596413)

    I would argue that on top of the sectarian issues in this particular case, there is a major lack scientific achievement in that region of the world. Dr. Abdus Salam is one of only two Nobel laureates from a Muslim country. Islamic Universities have a shockingly low output (only 300 out of the 1800 universities in the region have even _one_ faculty member who has ever published anything. Compare that to Western Universities where typically every faculty member will have publications.)

    Part of the problem might be the rote learning paradigm that dominates in the middle east. Free inquiry and critical thinking are probably discouraged in a region dominated by so many authoritarian regimes. However, I would argue that one of the main reasons science has failed to flourish in Arab-Islamic countries is the legacy of one man: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali [].

    Al-Ghazali helped codify and unify several competing schools of Islamic thought, binding them around the central premise of rejecting outside influences to concentrate on spiritualism and devotion to God. While European philosophy focused on understanding the material world, al-Ghazali focused instead on the supernatural. After the Crusades destroyed the Islamic world's scientific Golden Age, al-Ghazadi's anti-scientific philosophy held sway and kept the region from experiencing the kind of Renaissance that moved Europe out of the dark ages.

    • Blaming the Crusaders is just dirty Muslim propaganda.

      It was the Mongols who sacked Baghad in 1258, in addition to a parade of extremely ignorant and backwards "thinkers" who turned the Islamic world from world leaders into the third world basketcase it is today.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.