To the editor:
I read Abdul Khan’s column, "Regional conflict tears apart neighbors" (Thursday, Opinion), on regional conflicts in the Middle East. I have to admit that I read Khan’s columns regularly and find them informative, knowledgeable and always interesting. However, in Thursday’s I found an error, and I feel it necessary to bring it to attention.
Khan mentions many contributions of Muslims and credits the group with the invention of the number zero. While the Muslims have made numerous important contributions to the world, including algebra (al-jabr), theories of economics and philosophy, many scientific inventions and more, the number zero is not one of them.
The concept of zero predates Islam and was first articulated by Brahmagupta in his book Brahmasputha Siddhanta. He was an Indian and a Hindu. It was used by the Greeks and Romans before the Muslims and Arabs incorporated the concept into their numeral system.
I feel that this distinction should be brought to Khan’s attention and it is only fair that your readers (including me) be given accurate information. This is not meant, in any manner, to discredit Khan or his writings, which I thoroughly enjoy. It is just a means to ensure that credit is given to the correct group or individual. ? Kevin Nayar