In my opinion, there are multiple flaws in Helen Ang's article (Scientists are not the enemies of God) due to her cursory and superficial research methodology.
Her suggestion that al-Razi's blindness was inflicted by an emir of Bukhara is disputable. Several biographies of al-Razi reported differently.
In A History of Muslim Philosophy, MM Sharif writes "it began with cataract which ended in complete blindness"
In Wikipedia; the following causative factor of his blindness was offered. "...The massive book thoroughly offended a Muslim priest whom Razi had apparently contradicted somewhere in its pages. The priest ordered that Razi be beaten over the head with the manuscript until one of them broke. Razi's head broke while the manuscript remained intact. The result was permanent blindness for Rhazes"
To therefore infer that al-Razi was a victim of an incompatible equation between religion (in this case Islam) and science is very misleading verging on slander.. Even if the event of the Muslim priest hitting al-Razi was true, it is an isolated event and should not be extrapolated as an adversarial Islamic policy towards science and research.
A thousand years ago, wedged between the late Roman Empire and the Renaissance, most of Europe gloomed in the "Dark Ages". TB Irving writes: "The Islamic world never lived in the same Middle Ages as Western Europe ...For 14 centuries the Islamic world has formed a vast cultural enterprise which gathered up and prolonged the legacy of antiquity and transmitted this into the European Middle Ages and Renaissance for use in modern times"
The paragraphs on al-Kindi was a melodramatic piece with undue emphasis and piecemeal reports of tragic events missing the complete historical perspective.
Al-Kindi served at least four Abbasids caliphs, al-Ma'mun (813-833), al-Mu'tasim (833-842), al-Wathiq (842-847) and al-Mutawakkil (847-861). Caliph al-Ma'mun established the "House of Wisdom", a pioneering academy where Greek philosophical and scientific works were translated. The succeeding two caliphs continued to facilitate this tradition of learning and research and became great patrons of scholars.
Al-Mutawakkil was however the exception. Unlike his predecessors, some reported that he persecuted non-orthodox Islamic scholars and minority groups.
Al-Kindi was an innocent victim in the bitter rivalries to earn the favours of the caliph. He held firmly to his belief that the pursuit of philosophy was compatible with orthodox Islam unlike the caliph's conservative thoughts.
To generalise the "ill conduct" of al-Mutawakkil as reflective of the caliphate's persecution of scholars is a poor reading of history.
And to further complicate historical analysis; others would contend that it was during the caliphate of al-Mutawakil that deviationist elements were purged from the works and writings of researchers in his endeavour to adhere strictly to the pristine teachings of the Quran and the traditions of the prophet.
History testifies that from the Atlantic to Central Asia, scholars were to be found in every city and excellent colleges existed in most of them. The great jami'at, madarsas and kulliyat which the Muslims fostered gave Europe its new word "university" as a loan of translation, meaning a place where 'everything' was 'gathered together' for study.
The statement "never in the history of human conflict have we seen fanatical bands of scientists taking up arms with the aim of 'taking out' those opposed to them", is unnecessarily provocative. It only reflects a desperate attempt to conceal poor arguments.
The discourse in this forum has thus far been a healthy and constructional one. I similarly applaud the authors she had mentioned for invoking hitherto taboo subjects which is refreshing for our intellectual inquisitiveness within the framework of evidence based science and for Muslims, Shariah compliant too. Credit should also be given to the likes of Abdul Rahman Abdul Talib, Abu Mubarak and Steven Foong for their erudite pieces, thus affording the readers
a more objective perspective.