Syriac words in the Koran

To what extent does the Koran contain Syriac words?  I’ve been reading a review of Christoph Luxenberg’s book about the Koran  by Martin F. J. Baasten in Aramaic Studies 2.2 (2004), pp. 268-272 (here), and finding it rather excellent.  It has been claimed — he cautiously states — that 80% of all loan-words in the Koran are from Syriac. 

Luxenberg has asked whether some passages in the Koran, which are difficult to understand, make more sense if you strip off the vowel-markings, thereby discarding the standard understanding of the text, and imagine that they contain Syriac loan words.

During the first century of the Arabic period, texts were written without all the marks above and below the line which indicate vowels, and indeed distinguish some consonants.  As Baasten rightly remarks, Arabic is a seriously defective script in this respect; worse than Syriac, where only two letters can be so affected.  Only seven Arabic letters — the rasm — are unique without some dotting.

Apparently some passages really do make much more sense if you do this.  Baasten gives a single example.

The implications of this for the transmission of the Koran are considerable.  If this can be proven, then it means that the Koran did not initially circulate orally, but passed through an early stage in written form, without vowel markings.  Only such a stage can account this symptom.

This would not be unreasonable.  There is no real reason to suppose that early followers of Mohammed memorised the new document, which was dribbling out chapter by chapter anyway.  It is likely that writing was used.  Thus we have the situation where early Korans differed, and a recension had to be created by the early Caliph Othman.  This situation also indicates that a good many people did NOT know the Koran orally, and relied on a written form of the text.

It seems that Luxenberg has overstated his thesis, however, and derived far more than this from Syriac sources, and much more tendentiously.  This is unfortunate, as it tends to undermine the credibility of his work.  But thus far, it would seem likely that he has indeed discovered something solid. 


Arabic texts online in Arabic

A notice from BYZANS-L:

On 09/03/2009, Alexander Hourany wrote:

Here are some websites that contain free online versions of old Arabic  sources like the history of al-Tabari and many others. Although some of them contain typing errors, they are very usefull in textual search.
al-Meshkat library site:
Yasoob al-Din library:
al-Mostafa library:

Now all we need is someone who knows Arabic to look at these and tell us what is there!


Printing banned by Islam?

Was there a ban on printing in Islam? I saw the following claim online here:

Printing was banned by Islamic authorities because they believed the Koran would be dishonoured by appearing out of a machine. As a result, Arabs did not acquire printing presses until the 18th century.

UPDATE: Geoff Carter in the comments has been tracking it down.  There is some substance to this.  The urls given refer to an article by Muhsin Mahdi, From the manuscript age to the age of printed books, in The Book in the Islamic World, ed. G.N.Atiyeh, State University of New York Press (1995), pp.1-16.  This is not a study, as far as I can see, but rather a series of questions.  So we still haven’t reached bottom of this one.

UPDATE 2: Searching Google books, I found this link, J.G.Taylor, Indonesia, Yale (2004), p.68 in support:

Although the printing press reached Muslim lands from Europe in 1492, Muslim kings banned setting Arabic into type until the early nineteenth century.

No footnotes, tho.   A little light comes from the Quarterly Review, p.475:

An attempt of the same kind had been made by Achmet III., so early as the year 1727: the oulemas gave their consent, but it was rendered nugatory, by excepting the Koran, for a reason, as Mr. Walsh observes, ‘ characteristic of the people—they said it would be an act of impiety if the word of God should be squeezed and pressed together; but the true cause was, that great numbers of themselves earned a considerable income by transcribing those books, which would be at once destroyed, if suffered to be printed.’ As Turks read nothing else but the Koran, the printing-office was soon discontinued. Its renewal by Selim had no better success; it languished and declined on the death of its patron, ‘ who fell a victim to the rage of the Janissaries, for attempting to innovate upon their ancient and venerable ignorance.’

This tends to suggest that any ban originated with the Ottomans, and, as with so much in that miserable state, under a pretence of piety sought to financially benefit certain individuals.  Once the Koran began to be printed, Karpat remarks in The politicization of Islam, p. 231, entrepreneurs quickly issued defective Korans as fast as possible, for profit.

However I have just seen a reference to a specific ban on the Koran in 1727.

In Chambers Edinburgh Journal p. 44, (1848) I find the following:

The Sultan Bajazet II. issued a decree in 1483 forbidding the use of printed books by the Turks, under penalty of death. This decree was afterwards confirmed by his son Selim I. in 1515, and implicitly obeyed by the Mohammedans, with equal ignorance and fanaticism, until the eighteenth century, when, in the reign of Achmet III., Seid-Effendi, who had accompanied his father, the ambassador, to the court of Louis XV. in 1720, was so much struck with the advantages of printing, that he determined his own country should participate in them. For the attainment of this object he employed the services of a Hungarian renegade, who was subsequently surnamed Basmadjy—’ the Printer.’ A memorial was drawn up, by means of which the grand vizier, Ibrahim Pacha, an enlightened protector of literature, obtained a favourable edict from the sultan. But fearful of wounding the religious scruples of his subjects, and of alarming the numerous class of copyists, Achmet forbade the printing of the Koran, the oral laws of the Prophet, the commentaries on these works, and books on jurisprudence—leaving to the industry of the printers philosophical, medical, astronomical, geographical, historical, and other scientific works. The renegade was placed at the head of the new establishment, but the national character was against him ; and notwithstanding his activity, at the time of his death, which happened in 1746, he had not been able to print more than sixteen works. The first was a Turkish and Arabic dictionary, 2 vols. folio, of which the impression was completed in 1729; the price was fixed at thirty- five piastres, by order of the sultan. In the following year a Turkish grammar appeared, a copy of which, with each leaf of a different colour, is still in existence.

Again, no references.

UPDATE: (12th May 2009)

A most interesting paper by John-Paul Ghobrial addresses the lack of proper references for this story. I have written to the author asking for some more details.

The sources given for the ban in this paper are two:

Nicolas de Nicolay, The navigations, peregrinations and voyages, made into Turkie by Nicholas Nicholay Daulphinois, Lord of Arfeuile. conteining sundry singularities which the author hath there seene and observed;devided into foure books, with threescore figures, naturally set forth as well of men as women, according to the diversitie of nations., T. Washington trans. (London, 1585). p.130.

…Maranes [Marranos] of late banished and driven out of Spaine & Portugale, who to the great detriment and damage of the Christianitie, have taught the Turkes diverse inventions, craftes and engines of warre, as to make artillerie, harquebuses, gunnepouder, shot, and other munitions: they have also there set up printing, not before seene in those countries, by the which in faire characters they put in light divers bookes in divers languages, as Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and the Hebrewe toungue, being to them natural, but are not permitted to print the Turkie or Arabian tongue.’

The other is “Busbecq”in 1560.   This turns out to be The Life and Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq By Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, tr. Charles Thornton Forster, Francis Henry Blackburne Daniell. Published by C. K. Paul, 1881.  Volume 1  is online here, and on p. 255 we find this text:

No nation in the world has shown greater readiness than the Turks to avail themselves of the useful inventions of foreigners, as is proved by their employment of cannons and mortars, and many other things invented by Christians. They cannot, however, be induced as yet to use printing, or to establish public clocks, because they think that the Scriptures, that is, their sacred books – would no longer be scriptures if they were printed, and that, if public clocks were introduced, the authority of their muezzins and their ancient rites would be thereby impaired.

John-Paul Ghobrial suggests that the first reference refers not to a general ban on printing, but to restrictions on dhimmis (=you and me) in an Islamic state doing so in the language of the ruling Moslems. But of course that may or may not be so.

UPDATE: (31st October 2018): A kind commenter (below) has drawn my attention to a relevant article.  It is Kathryn A Schwartz, “Did Ottoman Sultans Ban Print?” in: Book History 20 (2017) p.1-39.  This article really consists of a literature search, trying to find the origins of the claim.  Few will have access to this, so I will summarise what she found.

1. The firmans of Bayezid II and Selim I, which created the ban on printing

She tells us that no such firmans have reached us.  Unfortunately it is unclear whether this lack is significant – do we have that many firmans from that period?  But she has found what she believes to be the source for the claim that these two Sultans banned printing:

It appears that the first person to publish this assertion was the French Franciscan priest and cosmographer Andre Thevet (1502–90).

Thevet wrote about the firmans in the second volume of his eight volume work entitled The True Portraits and Lives of Illustrious Greek, Latin, and Pagan Men. [88] Printed from Paris in 1584, the book comprised chapters on distinguished historical figures. In Thevet’s chapter on “Jean Guttemberg, Inventor of Printing,”[89] he compared the invention and adoption of printing in Europe to the absence of the technology in the East: What I know for sure is that the Greeks, Armenians, Mingrelians (Mingrelias), Abyssinians, Turks, Persians, Moors, Arabs & Tartars do not write their books except by hand. [And] that among the others, the Turks are constrained by the ordinance (ordinance) of Baiazeth, second in name, their Emperor [i.e., Bayezid II], published in the year fourteen hundred eighty-three, carrying the prohibitions (defenses), on the pain of death to not consume (de n’user) printed books, which was the ordinance confirmed by Selim, first of name [i.e., Selim I], his son, [in] the year one thousand five-hundred fifteen.

88. André Thevet, Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustres, Grecz, Latins, et payens, recueilliz de leurs tableaux, livres, medalles antiques, et modernes (Paris: Par la vefue I. Keruert et Guillaume Chaudiere, 1584), Vol. 2, 515 verso.  [Both vols are on Google Books: Vol.1; Vol.2]

Here it is:

Thevet, therefore, is writing in 1580.  Selim’s firman was in 1515, Bayezid II’s after 1492. Schwartz points out various problems with Thevet’s testimony, and attempts to suggest that in general he is not a reliable witness.

2.  Statement by Marsigli that no ban existed as such

She continues:

Moreover, other early modern European reports contradicted Thevet’s claim. Count Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli (1658–1730), for example, challenged the notion that the sultans banned printing. Marsigli had first-hand dealings with the Ottomans for twenty years from the 1680s. He travelled in the empire, battled against it in service to the Habsburgs, and lived amongst Ottoman janissaries as a prisoner of war.96

In Marsigli’s book on the Ottoman military, he refuted the notion of the Ottoman printing ban: “The Turks, it is true, do not print their books at all. But this is not, as is commonly believed, because they are prohibited to print, or because their books are unworthy of printing.”97

Marsigli’s statement ought to carry significant credibility due to his fluency in the Ottoman language and his abiding bibliophila. He amassed more than six hundred oriental manuscripts during his travels.98 And beyond that, Marsigli was himself a printer who worked with Medici oriental typefaces at the press that he established in Bologna.99

The reference is: Luigi Ferdinando Marsili, L’Etat militaire de l’empire ottoman, ses progrès et sa décadence, 1732.  Vol. 1, p.40.  Italian with French translation.  This too is online here.  The full paragraph is:

Les Turc ne sont point à la verité imprimer leurs ouvrages mais ce n’est pas comme on le croit communement parceque l’Imprimerie leur est défendue ou que leurs ouvrages ne méritent pas l’impression. Ils ne veulent pas empêcher tant de Copistes au nombre de quatre-vingt dix mille lorsque j étais à Constantinople de gagne leur vie ; & c’est ce que les Turcs ont dit eux-mêmes aux Chrétien & aux juifs qui vouloient introduire l’imprimerie dans l’Empire pour en faire leur profit.

The Turks indeed never print their works, but this is not, as is believed commonly, because printing is banned or because their works are not worth printing.  They do not wish to prevent so many copyists, to the number of 86,000 when I was at Constantinople, from earning a living; and it is this that the Turks have said themselves to Christians and to Jews who wished to introduce printing into the empire to make a profit.

3.  The first extant firman – Murad III

She writes:

Murad (r. 1574–95) issued the earliest extant firman concerning print in 1588. It survives at the back of the 1594 Arabic edition of Euclid’s Elements published by the Medici Oriental Press in Rome.42 The firman asserted the rights of two European merchants to their trade of “valuable printed books and pamphlets in Arabic” within the empire.43 It ordered that the traders were to henceforth be left unmolested by those who “are opening up their shipments by force, and with little or no payment at all are taking their wares and interfering with their trade.”

  1. Euclid, Euclidis Elementorum geometricorum libri tredecim (Rome: In typographia Medicea, 1594), verso of last page.

43. Christopher M. Murphy, trans., “Appendix: Ottoman Imperial Documents Relating to the History of Books and Printing,” in The Book in the Islamic World: The Written Word and Communication in the Middle East, ed. George N. Atiyeh (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 283.

Let’s have that firman, in Murphy’s translation.  It was issued in October 1588:


Be it hereby known to all governors, sea captains, judges, and other officials stationed in the Imperial domain that two European merchants by the name of Anton and Orasyu [Horatio] Bandini, being bearers of Imperial permission to conduct trade, are buying and selling and doing business by importing certain goods and valuable printed books and pamphlets in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. Some persons are opening up their shipments by force, and with little or no payment at all are taking their wares and interfering with their trade. It is therefore directed that the said merchants and their agents and employees be allowed to carry on their business in safety and that their merchandise be not seized, and that whosoever disobeys this decree of mine be reported immediately. It is also ordered that their books and goods be purchased in return for the payment of the correct price and that there should no longer be any complaints in this matter. Written in Constantinople on the first of Zilhicce in the year of the Hijrah 996.

4.  The second extant firman – Ahmed III

This is the firman that allowed a Hungarian renegade who called himself Ibrahim Muteferrika – his original name is unknown – to print secular texts.  Schwartz writes:

Ahmed’s 1727 firman endowed a permit to print to the aforementioned Muteferrika, a Unitarian convert to Islam who reached prominence in the imperial court. As the Medici Press did with their firman from Murad, Muteferrika printed this firman in the first book that he reproduced, the 1729 Ottoman-Arabic dictionary Kitab-ı Lugat-ı Vankulu….

47. For the full English translations of “Vesiletu’t-Tiba‘a” and the Imperial firman granted to Muteferrika by Ahmed III, refer to Murphy, “Appendix,” 284–92. For their reproductions, along with the endorsements, or taqaz , of the text, refer to Gdoura, Debut de l’imprimerie Arabe, 276–80.

Apparently the book starts with a lengthy essay explaining why printing is a good idea; the firman drew upon it.  The firman, issued in 1727, is rather long: again let’s have Murphy’s translation of it.



This exalted royal order is given to that pinnacle of illustrious persons and notables, the official of the Grand Vezir, Sait, and to that educated select servant of the Palace, Ibrahim, may his nobility increase. It is known that upon the establishment of the rising sun of the religion of Muhammad and that with the brightness of the dawn of Ahmed’s religious community, may God bless him, and it is understood that since that time the enlightened and meritorious masters of religion, God bless them, wrote books and tracts of science and knowledge in order to protect and conserve the verses of the Koran, the traditions of the Prophet, and the entirety of knowledge. And these words served to maintain the good order of the people, and make known the laws of religion and state, and the organization of the state and community. Editing books and writings and collecting eloquent collections of poetry, they progressed and wrote histories and accounts and worked for the preservation and defense of knowledge and works of culture, facilitating and disseminating sciences and arts. People knowledgeable in Arabic and Persian profited from their explaining and teaching, and organizing the regulations for each of the particular sciences and disciplines. This being proper, in order that they would possess eternal happiness in this world and the next and gain a good reward, they did not cease writing valuable and knowledgeable books and tracts. However, with the passing of days and with the years going by as the Chingizids, created chaotic disturbances and Hulagu rose to power, and with resplendent Andalusia in the hands of the Europeans, and with the convulsions of wars, killing, and destruction, most literary works have disappeared with their authors. Therefore, today in the Muslim lands the dictionaries of Cevheri and Van Kulu in the Arabic language, and books of history and, copies of scientific works which were burned are rare. Also, people did not give proper care and attention, and lacked concern about copying, so works were not carefully copied. These rare books are an inspiration to students of the arts and sciences and to seekers of knowledge.

Among the technical processes, printing is like coining money and impressing paper with a signet ring. Books produced by printing cause several thousand volumes to be produced from a single volume, all of which are accurate copies. With little effort there is great return, making this a desirable activity to pursue. By virtue of your having composed a learned tract about, and having expertise in, the various above-mentioned activities, you will see to the necessities and expenditures without loss of time, so that on a fortunate day this Western technique will be unveiled like a bride and will not again be hidden. It will be a reason for Muslims to say prayers for you and praise you to the end of time. Excepting books of religious law, Koranic exegesis, the traditions of the Prophet, and theology, you asked the Padishah’s permission in the aforementioned tract to print dictionaries, history books, medical books, astronomy and geography books, travelogues, and books about logic. The aforementioned tract was referred to that very learned religious scholar, that most meritoriously pious mariner on the stormy sea of religious questions, that wellspring of the river of legal opinions, that wearer of the garment of piety, the Seyh-ul-Islam and learned jurisconsult, Mevlana Abdullah, may Almighty God increase his goodness. The question was asked: Zeyd claiming expertise in the science of printing, illuminating, and producing copies of the letters and words of dictionaries, logic, philosophy, and astronomy texts, and like works, thus being able to produce exact copies of these books, is there not permission in the Holy Law for this good work? The one who is an expert at printing seeks a legal opinion because producing an accurate edition of a work in a short time, with no errors and many copies, results in there being an increased number of books, which is a benefit to the community. The answer is: Being able to produce this great benefit, this person receives permission with the condition that several educated persons be appointed as proof readers. Great benefit will come from the order based on that legal opinion, allowing for the exception of the religious subjects mentioned in the tract written with the pearl pen of wisdom. This legal opinion is well prepared and it stands out in a vast ocean as exemplary in the Seyh’s career. What falls from his pen in the form of authoritative opinion is an overflowing garden, a basin of sweet water, a river which waters the desert with springs. The Imperial permission becomes proper on account of this well-explained authoritative declaration, this perfectly eloquent and noble opinion. Copies will be printed of dictionaries, and books about logic, astronomy and similar subjects, and so that the printed books will be free from printing mistakes, the wise, respected and meritorious religious scholar specializing in Islamic Law, the excellent Kazi of lstanbul, Mevlana Ishak, and Selaniki’s Kazi, Mevlana Sahib, and Ghalata’s Kazi, Mevlana Asad, may their merits be increased, and from the illustrious religious orders, the pillar of the righteous religious scholars, the Seyh of the Kasim Pasha Mevlevihane, Mevlana Musa, may his wisdom and knowledge increase, will oversee the proofreading. With the actual setting up of the press, the above-mentioned books in history, astronomy, geography, logic and so forth, after they pass the review of the learned scholars, shall become numerous. However, you will take special care to see that the copies remain free from error and depend on the noble learned men for this. Ordered in the middle of Zulka’de in the year 1139 in Istanbul the protected.

The remainder of the article is dedicated to the references to the ban in European writers; and ends with a curious statement that, whether or not there ever was a ban, the important thing is to remove from the question the opinions of contemporaneous westerners.

What do we make of this?  It comes down to a few statements.

  • We don’t have copies of the firmans of Beyazit II (1493?)and Selim I(1515), nor any real evidence for their existence.  But we don’t know whether our lack of knowledge is significant.
  • We have a statement by Thevet (1584) that such a ban was brought in.  But Thevet may not be reliable.
  • We have a firman by Murad (1588) allowing a foreign merchant to sell printed books.  But this doesn’t really bear upon the question.
  • We have the statement by Marsigli (1680) that no legal ban existed but that printing simply did not happen because there were thousands of people earning a living by copying books.
  • We have a firman by Ahmed in 1727, permitting the printing of books other than those connected to Islam.  The terms of the firman, and the long book before it, make clear that no printing had ever taken place, as far as the authors knew.

This is all useful data.  This data seems to make quite clear that printing was not allowed to take place before 1727, despite the repeated importunity of foreigners who could see the opportunity to make a fortune.

Whether the ban was effectuated by a firman by Beyazit II and Selim I – and a firman only lasted for the reign of the Sultan – or by some other extra-legal process – is perhaps a technical detail.  The point is that there was plainly a ban in practical effect.


The lost libraries of Timbuktu

One evening last week I happened to see part of a BBC4 TV programme, The lost libraries of Timbuktu:

Aminatta Forna tells the story of legendary Timbuktu and its long hidden legacy of hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. With its university founded around the same time as Oxford, Timbuktu is proof that the reading and writing of books have long been as important to Africans as to Europeans.

I couldn’t watch this programme for long — too much left-wing or “blacks are wonderful” propaganda, and not much hard information at all.

However I did learn from it that there is a trove of hand-written books in Timbuktu.  They all stem from the Moslem invasion of West Africa in the middle ages.   The oldest are 13th century.  The older books were in Arabic; the more recent ones in tribal languages, written in Arabic script.  The latter were naturally preferred by the modern holders of the books.  During the French period — the only period of civilised rule it has ever known — an unspecified number were rescued and carried off to an unspecified destination (we are invited to consider this as an “indignity”!).  Doubtless they are in the French National Library, and probably properly catalogued too, although this was not said.  Wild estimates of the number of such books were tossed around; anything up to 700,000 was mentioned, although this seems unlikely.  We saw a desktop scanner being used to digitise a page.

There was lots of talk about “riches” of books.  But… what precisely do these texts contain?  How many are of what age?  This I could not learn.

I found online a Moslem Timbuktu Educational Foundation — based in California, as it seems the “riches of African culture” don’t extend to adequate internet connections.  They claim to own the manuscripts.  The site solicits a donation of $100 to preserve and translate each manuscript — although the contact form doesn’t work, and the one and only newsletter is dated to 2003.  The site also is infuriating vague, but gives a little more:

The manuscripts cover diverse subjects: mathematics, chemistry, physics, optics, astronomy, medicine, history, geography, Islamic sciences and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), government legislation and treaties, jurisprudence and much more.

Yes?  So, which authors?  Which texts?  Is there a catalogue?  And… can’t they get some money off the oil-rich states, being good Moslems and all?  (I certainly would, in their shoes).

The BBC is to be commended for commissioning a programme on manuscripts.  Someone there should be shot for making a piece of political agitprop instead.  A wasted opportunity, then; but still good to see manuscripts on the box.  More please.

PS: The Washington Post has a much better article on all this here.  Manuscripts are 16-18th century.  Some of the mss are online at the Library of Congress here.  See also this article.


Eusebius and Islam

There are some things which are obvious, once they have been invented.  It took the genius of Eusebius of Caesarea to digest down into a tabular form of dates and events all the information about dates and events for Greece and Assyria and Persia and Rome — and the Hebrews — contained in the literature available to him.  But once this Chronicle of World History existed, running up until the 20th year of Constantine, every copyist would feel the urge to add extra lines on the bottom, to bring it up to date.  It’s sort of obvious, isn’t it?

To this obviousness we owe a mass of chronicles, not just in Greek but in Latin and Syriac.  One such continuator was James of Edessa, the 8th century scholarly West Syriac bishop who attempted to introduce Greek vowels into the Syriac script, and partially succeeded.  His continuation was composed in 692 AD.  

The text is lost, but portions of it remain.  The text of the 10th century World History of Michael the Syrian makes use of it verbatim in places, although not in tabular form.  Better still, a 10th/11th century Syriac manuscript from the Nitrian Desert, now in the British Library (Ms. Additional 14685) contains a substantial chunk of it, albeit in an abbreviated form.  It starts where Eusebius left off, and begins with a preface in which James discusses an error in calculation which he has found in Eusebius.  Then it goes into a set of tables.  Like the Armenian version of Eusebius (but unlike the original, or the Latin version), the columns of year numbers are positioned in the centre of the page, and events for those years written on either side.

I was looking around the web today for the ancient texts which mention Mohammed, and came across this site.  To my surprise this chronicle by James is one of the earliest mentions of Mohammed.  This has given impetus to me to put it online.  But how to do so?

E. W. Brooks published the Chronicle in Zeitschrift fur deutschen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft 53 (1899), p. 261-327.  He didn’t publish the preface.  He published the Syriac text, laid out in tabular form.  He followed it with an English translation, not of all the text, but of the wording (events) against each year.  He then republished it, this time with the preface, in CSCO Syr. 5, with a Latin translation of the lot in CSCO Syr. 6.  Both text and translation contained the tabular layout.

I’m not going to transcribe the Syriac, or the Latin.  I have already OCR’d the English, but there is a problem.  The Islamic website above rightly quotes three chunks of relevant information.  But… two of these are embedded in the table in the middle of the page, so not present in the English translation.  Anyway… don’t we want to see the proper layout?  I certainly would!

I think the solution will be to take the Latin translation, lay it out in HTML, and then substitute the English where it is available, translating the trivial bits of Latin where it is not.  It will be fiddly; but it will work.  Considering its importance, tho, something must be done.


Anti-Islamic sites targeted by DoS attack

It isn’t just bureaucrats trying to silence free speech online.  I learn today that the Jihad-watch and Islam-watch sites were subjected to a Denial-of-Service attack, to load them down with bogus traffic so that no-one could access them.  As yet the editors haven’t yet worked out precisely which post or comment the Moslem attackers were objecting to.

We do need better materials on Islamic origins online.  For one thing, how many of us can even name the primary sources for the life of Mohammed?  I can’t!