Deadly Typos

Meaning is everything. If you’re not getting is right, you’re getting it wrong

Ian Whiteman

A typo, or typographical error, is a fairly commonplace thing and an inherent danger of the printed word. Historically such errors have at times produced catastrophic and very costly results. The lack of a hyphen in some computer coding cost NASA hundreds of millions of dollars in an aborted rocket launch and there are many more such examples. But by far the worst and most deadly typo in history is that of the Mardin fatwa written originally by Ibn Taymiyya (d 1328) who was from the Mardin area of Turkey at the time of the Mongol invasion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Taymiyyah

To scholars and students of this subject, this fatwa problem is well known, but for many who are not familiar with the subject, it is worth revisiting here as the fatwa is suddenly of immense topicality. The text was, and is still used by many militant terroristic groups to support and justify their killings of countless numbers of innocent…

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