In a July 7 editorial, The Washington Times joined the right-wing media freak-out over NASA administrator Charles Bolden's comments about President Obama's efforts to improve Muslim outreach. From the Times' editorial:
The Muslim world has nothing to offer the United States as a space-faring nation. If anything, America should be discouraging Middle East space programs. Iran has the most advanced space initiative in the region and claimed to have launched a satellite in February. It's a short step from putting satellites in space to being able to do the same with warheads. Given that Iran is on the verge of nuclear-weapons capability, the upbeat message from NASA seems ill-advised.
Islam's meager contribution to human technological advancement is no accident. In his new book "The Closing of the Muslim Mind," former Voice of America director Robert Reilly describes the brief flourishing of intellectualism in Muslim Spain 1,000 years ago before it was brutally suppressed by religious extremists. They imposed a continuing Islamic orthodoxy that is hostile to rational thought and to the scientific method. According to this view, the only knowledge required for human existence is contained in the Koran and the life and sayings of Muhammad. Pursuing any knowledge beyond that is at best a waste of time, at worst a capital offense. Classical books of knowledge were burned, the few Muslim philosophers and scientists were banished and the stage was set for centuries of scientific decline. The small number of discoveries credited to that part of the world since the Middle Ages came principally from conquered peoples.