The religious zealots have hijacked our politics. They are gleefully dragging the nation towards a medieval era using Islam as a slogan for their puritanism. We know one cause of decline of the Islamic civilization was mixing of religion with politics. But an even more important reason for our historical decline has been the false belief of the Muslim clerics that anything modern is essentially unIslamic. Let me quote the following examples: 1. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's epic struggle for educating the Muslim masses was strongly opposed by mullahs who believed that English language was inherently unIslamic. They refused to believe that all languages were created by Allah whose innumerable prophets delivered His divine message in innumerable languages. 2. Modern gadgets like loudspeakers, cameras and radio were all deemed satanic by clerics about 50 years ago. 3. The printing press was initially banned by the Ottoman Empire. Their guild of writers declared it was 'devil's invention'. Subsequently, they allowed it with the condition that printing would be allowed only in Hebrew. 4. TV Channel 4 in UK recently showed a copy of Holy Quran in Venice, printed 500 years ago. They reported that this is perhaps the last and only copy left, because the Muslim clerics of that era refused to accept mechanically printed version of their holy book. The following major events can be considered as 'milestones' in our disastrous journey towards regression, degeneration and decay: 1. In 1258 AD. Muslims failed to protect their treasure of knowledge when Baghdad was ransacked by the Mongols. 2. Circa 1492 AD. Muslims failed to protect Spain from the Europeans who were culturally still living in dark ages. This was the time when Columbus discovered America that provided vast natural resources to the Europeans. 3. 18th & 19th Century. Ottomans and other Muslim nations snubbed the industrial revolution and considered modern science as anti-God. Our apathy towards science is based on the fallacy that the sciences are in competition with God. In fact, all laws of science are Allah's creation. Man is only trying to understand the divine laws of nature. Need one say that it is the neglecting of sciences that is unIslamic? -KHALID A., London, UK, via e-mail, February 8.