Saturday, August 4, 2012

Djinn Energy 2001

DJINN ENERGYA leading Pakistani nuclear scientist who was questioned by the Pakistani government last week concerning his ties to the Taliban is known as a proponent of "Islamic science," a weird hybrid of scientific terminology and Islamic lore.
Sultan Bashiruddin Mehmood is a pioneer in the development of nuclear technology in Pakistan. But in 1980, as a senior director of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, he "recommended that djinns [or genies], being fiery creatures, ought to be tapped as a free source of energy. By this means, a final solution to Pakistan's energy problems would be found."
This episode was recounted by Pakistani physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy in his enlightening book "Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality" (Zed Books, 1991).
In a Wall Street Journal article on Islamic science (13 September 1988), Dr. Mehmood noted that King Solomon had harnessed energy from djinns. "I think that if we develop our souls we can develop communications with them," he said.
While the notion of "djinn energy" is ridiculous -- even in Pakistan there are no djinn engines -- ridicule is beside the point. A more important point is that influential figures in the Islamic world are devoted to a view of reality that cannot be readily reconciled with conventional Western thought. This is a "translation" problem that cannot be solved with dictionaries.
The detention of Bashiruddin Mehmood, which is expected to be temporary, was reported in the Pakistan Observer in Islamabad on October 25. See "Nuclear Scientists Picked [Up] By Agencies":

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