Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Shaw on Islam, Part V: A Historian's Contribution

A major topic of discussion in the first year of the minor premise (its third blogaversary was last month!) was the veracity and accuracy of some pronouncements on Islam allegedly made by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Even today a good number of our hits to this blog are on searches for "Shaw" and "the Genuine Islam." In our hunt for the truth, we found that the periodical The Genuine Islam could be found in Singapore and at the New York Library. We were stuck for further research, not having easy access to either place. A scanned or photographed image of the table of contents of Volume I, number 6 would prove or dispel the rumors that Shaw had ever written for the periodical; a copy of the article itself would be better yet. Neither, unfortunately, is yet available online. So having nothing further of worth to say on the subject, we let it drop for a while.

Fast forward to December 3 and this post on the blog "A Historian's Craft" referencing the text and debunking the overstatement of Shaw's position. Amusingly, she apparently stumbled upon the periodical, unaware of its position in Internet urban myth.

The actual article was not by Shaw, but was an interview with him. A portion of the interview, with no reference to "The Genuine Islam," is available here. Interestingly the online version omits the most cited passages.

If you are curious as to what is really said in the periodical, in context, check out A Historian's Craft. We thank its author profusely for having satisfied our curiosity, and shining the light of fact upon this much-repeated bit of legend.

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