Category Archive 'Koran'

18 Feb 2009

British Libraries Told to Move Bible & Koran to Top Shelves

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In another gesture of grovelling to superstitious natives, Britain’s Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) is advising libraries to treat the Mussulman’s Al-koran as a sacred object entitled to physical deference. The Koran must be placed above other books on the topmost shelf.

Doubtless anticipating some negative comment, the MLA’s wise men took care to advocate equality of treatment for the holy books of other religions, too. So the Christian Bible is to be placed on an out-of-reach top shelf, too, right beside the dictates of Mahound. “Blessed too is Diana of the Ephesians.”


Muslims have complained that the Koran is often displayed on the lower shelves, which is deemed offensive as many believe the holy book should be placed above “commonplace things”.

Now officials at one library have recommended keeping all holy books, including the Bible, on the top shelves.

The move has come despite concern from Christian charities that this will put the Bible out of the reach and sight of many people.

Guidance published by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, a quango answering to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, brought the situation to light.

It said Muslims in Leicester had moved copies of the Koran to the top shelves of libraries, because they believe it is an insult to display it in a low position.

A report into the issue said the city’s librarians consulted the Federation of Muslim Organisations and were advised that all religious texts should be kept on the top shelf to ensure equality.

The right European approach to the Koran may be seen in the Flemish Baroque church pulpit below.

Mattheus van Beveren, Mohammed, leaning on his Koran, Trodden upon by Angels Bearing the Pulpit, Liebefraukirke, Dendermonde, Flanders, late 17th century

15 Jan 2008

Indiana Jones Meets the Islamic Da Vinci Code

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The Islamic world never experienced either a Renaissance or an Enlightenment, but as this Wall Street Journal news story explains, a trove of manuscript photographs not previously known to have survived WWII is about to cause the Medieval Islamic world view to be confronted with the fruits of modern critical scholarship’s examination of its fundamental basis, the al-Koran (in PC-journalism-ese these days, the Quran), supposedly the directly-dictated word of God.

On the night of April 24, 1944, British air force bombers hammered a former Jesuit college here housing the Bavarian Academy of Science. The 16th-century building crumpled in the inferno. Among the treasures lost, later lamented Anton Spitaler, an Arabic scholar at the academy, was a unique photo archive of ancient manuscripts of the Quran.

The 450 rolls of film had been assembled before the war for a bold venture: a study of the evolution of the Quran, the text Muslims view as the verbatim transcript of God’s word. The wartime destruction made the project “outright impossible,” Mr. Spitaler wrote in the 1970s.

Mr. Spitaler was lying. The cache of photos survived, and he was sitting on it all along. The truth is only now dribbling out to scholars — and a Quran research project buried for more than 60 years has risen from the grave.

rhapsodies that the story has all the appeal of “Indiana Jones meets the Da Vinci Code,” including Nazis (“I hate those guys!”), and notes the possible ramifications.

What if scholars can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Koran was not dictated by the Archangel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammad during the 7th century, but rather was redacted by later writers drawing on a variety of extant Christian and Jewish sources? That would be the precise equivalent of proving that the Jesus Christ of the Gospels really was a composite of several individuals, some of whom lived a century or two apart.

There’ll be denial, indignation, demonstrating screaming Muslims, and more bombings and beheadings doubtless, but, indeed, what then for Islam?

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