The ‘David’-like physiology and ‘Nike’ wings were Greco-Roman, but his turban, beard and ‘semitic’ face, were unmistakably of the East. He sat majestically with one arm under his chin and his right foot atop a distilling retort.
“Those figures represent the building blocks of Western civilization. There’s Spain, England, the Middle Ages, even Islam is there for its contribution to science. Look, ‘Islam’ is written under the turbaned man.”
The tour guide’s voice broke my meditative study of the Renaissance-style figures high up on the dome of the Thomas Jefferson building, inside Washington DC’s Library of Congress.
Painted in the 1890s by Edward Homeland Blashfield, “The Evolution of Civilization” suggests Islam played a far greater role in the development of America than popular US history would have you believe.
This fact is further reinforced by one of the library’s most prized possessions, the Jefferson Qur’an — a two-volume 18th-century leatherbound English translation of Islam’s holiest text that once belonged to the American founding father and third president, Thomas Jefferson.
Along with the library’s dome, “The Qu’ran,” by George Sale, is part of a series of clues alluding to Islam’s relationship with the US, scattered across Washington DC.
The American capital has a long and storied Muslim history, if you dig deep enough.
Read more at the source