In speaking to you this evening one thing I want very much to do is try to lead a better understanding between the two vast populations of Hindus and Mussalmans in this country. I feel sure that if they understood each other better, they would feel as a single people. There is far more misunderstanding of Islam than there is I think of the other religions of the world. So many things are said of it by those who do not belong to that faith. Several things are said attacking those who follow the faith, not realising that it has gone far and wide over many nations and has brought reform and improvement to some of the very barbarous nations of the world; and the religion is blamed because while it has much improved them, it has not been able to entirely eradicate [Page 2] much which makes other nations hostile to them. Then there has been a good deal of deliberate misrepresentation. When the banner of the great Prophet was first carried to Europe, it came at a period of intellectual darkness. When the Roman catholic faith was a persecuting faith, and when the Moors invaded Spain and founded wonderful Universities, when they brought the light of science to Europe and for six centuries carried a torch of illumination to the European nations — in that time they were looked upon less as scientific teachers than as religious heretics; and because the Crescent instead of the Cross was blazing on their standards, their teaching was banned and they themselves were regarded as enemies.
It is well to remember that from the 8th century to the 14th it was from the Mussalman source that the light of knowledge spread over Europe, that the Muslims revived the knowledge of Greece and of Alexandria as it had been advanced and strengthened in the great University of Baghdad, sending out its messengers in all directions. From that entry into Europe there arose a prejudice against Islam as Islam which was not due to a knowledge of its religious teachings, but as a heretical faith; and therefore all its teachings of every kind were to be banned by good Christian people.