Jared Diamond on Islam
Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine; recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1998.
"Medieval Islam was technologically advanced and open to innovation. It achieved far higher literacy rates than in contemporary Europe; it assimilated the legacy of classical Greek civilization to such a degree that many classical books are now known to us only through Arabic copies. It invented windmills, trigonometry, lateen sails and made major advances in metallurgy, mechanical and chemical engineering and irrigation methods. In the middle-ages the flow of technology was overwhelmingly from Islam to Europe rather from Europe to Islam. Only after the 1500's did the net direction of flow begin to reverse."
[Guns, Germs, and Steel - The Fates of Human Societies, 1997, p. 253]