A defining feature of the cartoon debate is that bigotry is being mistaken for blasphemy.
Text of talk on receiving an honorary doctorate at the University of Johannesburg, 25 May, 2010
MAHMOOD MAMDANI, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
This text was sent to us by Sujata Patel
It warms my heart to see these flowing gowns. I congratulate you on work accomplished! For over a millennium, these gowns have been a symbol of high learning from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. Should anyone ask you where they came from, tell them that the early universities of Europe – Oxford, Cambridge, le Sorbonne – borrowed them from the Islamic madressa of the Middle East. If they should seem incredulous, tell them that the gown did not come by itself: because medieval European scholars borrowed from the madressa much of the curriculum, from Greek philosophy to Iranian astronomy to Arab medicine and Indian mathematics, they had little difficulty in accepting this flowing gown, modeled after the…
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