MARGINALISATION OF ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN MIDDLE EAST HISTORY OF MEDICINE: THE FORGOTTEN CONTRIBUTIONS TO ARABIAN AND ISLAMIC MEDICINE AND SCIENCE

  • Samir Johna

Abstract

The contribution of ethnic and religious minorities to Arabian and Islamic medicine and science was a major and powerful one, yet it is rarely acknowledged. When remembered, it is often inaccurately referred to as “Arabic” or “Islamic”, contrary to its ethnic and religious origins and identity. The objective of this study was to see whether such under-representation of ethnic and religious minorities is – singly or in combination – a random act, an act of ignorance, and/or an
act of programmed marginalisation. We conducted a computerised PubMed search for all scholarly, peer-reviewed articles concerning medicine and science in the Middle East at the zenith of the Arabic and Islamic Empire from the 5th to the 12th century. The data was analysed using the binomial probability model. Our data indicates that the under-representation of ethnic and religious minorities and their contributions to Arabian and Islamic science and medicine is unlikely to be a random act. The findings suggest the possibility of ignorance and/or programmed marginalisation, attesting to the prevailing negative attitudes towards ethnic and religious minorities of the Middle East and their contributions to medicine and science.

Keywords: Arabic, Arabian, Islamic, Assyrians, Jews, Medicine, Science, and Minorities

Published
2018-05-06