I agree that it has, not that my agreeing changes the facts or the numbers but I do. Has the way people practiced their religion changed in the city of Baghdad before and after the occupation, oh wait I meant the peaceful intrusion of the U.S army? Most likely not, perhaps people have slightly increased their faith in God to help them through these tough times. Has the politics in the city changed before and after the intrusion? Yes, yes it has. To be fair on you guys, I'll say it changed when the leaders lost their minds and started massacring everyone. You can argue that just like religion, politics does have an extreme side and a more modest one. But let's be realistic, the majority of political leaders are political extremists (i.E. Every president of every country in the world) while the majority of religious people practice their religion peacefully without crashing into towers in New York. Politics does have the upper hand on the way education is practiced in a country, religion sets expectations, politics attempts to reach them.
I think Baghdad was known as the center of learning because of religion. Religion encouraged questioning and intellectual thinking. Furthermore, the questioning of religion did sprout the ideas of furthering knowledge. The main religion of that time frame did allow people to question its religion, and that is how people had become curious. I do believe political reasons do add to why it was once the center of learning, but religion was the major drive of it.