Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

EXCLUSIVE: UNESCO Acknowledges Labelling Maimonides as Muslim

August 17, 2011 12:51 pm 10 comments

Rambam's (Maimonides) grave compound in Tiberias, Israel. Photo: Almog.

Maimonides, also known as RaMBaM, Rabbi Moshe, ben (son of) Moshe, is hailed as one of the greatest Jewish scholars, writers and philosophers in history. His legal work covers most areas of Jewish faith and law, and he is often cited as the father of modern Jewish intellectualism. However, some are accusing UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) of casting doubt over Maimonides’ religious affiliation

Elder of Ziyon blog reported that in a December 2010 report on science in the Arab world, UNESCO printed in its French version: “[L]es noms de quelques savants européens apparaissaient dans la littérature scientifique à côté d’un grand nombre de savants musulmans, parmi lesquels Ibn Rushd (Averroès), Moussa ibn Maïmoun (Maïmonide), Tousi et Ibn Nafis.”

The translation provided: “[T]he names of some European scholars appeared in scientific literature next to a large number of Muslim scholars, including Ibn Rushd (Averroes) [who contended the Islamic claim that philosophers were outside the Quranic scripture; Maimouna Ibn Moussa (Maimonides); Tousi [Persian philosopher and doctor]; and Ibn Nafi [Arab physician].

The blog Elder of Ziyon and website, Jews for Sarah, both posted articles assailing UNESCO, of what they saw as an attempt to reconstruct history. “This is not the first time that UNESCO has changed history to replace Jews with Muslims,” wrote William A. Jacobson. “They have been prolific in Islamicizing sites long considered to have religious and historical importance to the Jewish people.”

The English version of the original document, which UNESCO provided, is slightly different than the one provided by Elder of Ziyon: “The names of a few European scientists appear in scientific literature alongside a string of Muslim scientists, whose numbers include Ibn-Rushd; Musa Bin Memoun; Tusi and Ibn-Nafis.”(Editor’s note – see above.)

Similar claims criticizing UNESCO’s political agenda have been made by Jewish organizations in the past regarding its categorization of Jewish holy sites, such as Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel) and The Cave of the Patriarchs (Me’arat HaMachpelah).

When contacted directly by the Algemeiner for comment a UNESCO spokesperson replied,  “UNESCO acknowledges that there was indeed an important and regrettable error in the chapter devoted to Arab States in the UNESCO Science Report published in 2006, which refers to Maimonides as a Muslim scholar,” they said. “Despite the vigile [sic] of our editors, errors unfortunately do occasionally occur.”

The representative declined to comment further.

10 Comments

  • So, Tachlis, did they retract it and apologize? Or will their mistake live on for the gullible masses that believe their garbage?

  • Marv Hershenson

    Just reading the few comments…please note to Mr. Smith: The Jewish nation is not a race…we are an incredibly diverse group with many pigmentations. Are Christians a race? Of course not… The UN and its associated bodies are filled with anti-semites and will do anything to disparage our great tradition.

  • Outside of the Jewish world Maimonide is not well known so it is an innocent mistake. Why would anyone set out on purpose to falsely categorise a man few people have heard of as a Muslim? Its not like they’re claiming Einstein was a Muslim.

    • saying that Rambam is not known outside of a few scholars is laughable as there were several major celebrations of his 850th birthday in both Spain and
      Egypt.
      anyone familiar with philosophy knows that his works were translated into latin and that most of his writings were in arabic,well-studied by other scholars.
      in his time he was greater than einstein.
      Rambam dominated the thought process of Jews and those who study religion of that time and ever since.
      he revolutionized Jewish thought and belief as well as all religion’s beliefs in G-D as his ideas were publicized well beyond our community. no one today
      imagines G-D as having human form and the one responsible for this change was Maimonedes.
      this is not an innocent mistake.

      • I said he’s not well known outside of the Jewish world. I didn’t say outside of a few scholars. Ask 100 random non-Jews if they’ve heard of him. I’d be surprised if any have.
        Nobody I just asked has heard of him.

  • Maimonides was born in Spain under Muslim rule, educated in Morocco, and died in Europe. He wrote and published in Arabic and therefore is in my opinion both a European and quite appropriate for inclusion in a book on science in the Arab world. There are of course many other people in history who were of the Jewish race, who lived in countries in which Arabic was the common language,and who spoke Arabic.

    • It seems that the complaint is not that he was included in the publication, but rather that he is described as a Muslim.

    • Emmanuel Sanders

      Maimonides did not die in Europe, he died in Egypt and is supposedly buried in Israel (although this is contested by some). Please check your facts before posting and spreading more misinformation.

  • But this report was in 2010, not 2006.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    The Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, which started on Friday in New York City, features a mini-documentary about an elderly Jewish woman whose journey away from Orthodoxy leads her to taste forbidden food for the first time in her life. In Canadian director Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath, Razie Brownstone talks about ending her lifelong observance of keeping kosher as her 90th birthday approaches. The recently declared atheist said the discovery of the search engine Google spurred a lapse in her Jewish faith and made her decide to […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Food Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    A Chabad rabbi from Rhinebeck, NY, will face off a priest, a pastor and a nun-in-training in an upcoming episode of the Food Network‘s reality show, “Chopped,” Lubavitch.com reported. Rabbi Hanoch Hecht – who teaches up-and-coming chefs about the intricacies of kosher dietary laws at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) — was nominated for the show by a professional chef, and went through a rigorous interview process at the Food Network’s studios in Chelsea, NY. Months later, he was informed he had been accepted as a contestant in the popular TV cooking competition. “I thought […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (BOOK REVIEW)

    Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (BOOK REVIEW)

    Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief by Asaf Romirowsky & Alexander H. Joffe (Palgrave Macmillan; 2013) Although this book came out several years ago, it remains pertinent. This is a meticulously researched book that concentrates on a very small bit of history: the time period from 1948-50 when the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group, was organizing refugee relief in Gaza. Before UNRWA, the UN created the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees (UNRPR). It outsourced […]

    Read more →