It was noted that the show was controversial; some people, particularly
Muslims, had been critical of it for being one-sided.
From the description of the show on the site, it seemed like for the
most part it was performing a much-needed public service by showing that
the categorization of certain elements of Britain's Muslim community as
moderate might perhaps lead some people, without an understanding of
what passes for moderate there, to unrealistic hopes.
However, one of the things cited in evidence of the continuing
immoderacy of Britain's Muslim community was the following: that a
significant number of British Muslims...
considered Islamic values to be superior to Britain's secular values.
Now, I suppose that _could_ be evidence of a problem; i.e., if they
considered it superior to have Shari'a Law, that discriminates against
non-Muslims, to the secular value of equal rights for members of all
On the other hand, if they consider it superior to consider, say,
premarital sex as a very bad thing, rather than something not
particularly important... then, of course, they are hardly different
from a great many Christians, in Britain and elsewhere.
That Muslims consider their religion to be not simply a source of
comforting ritual, but a source of values - and a Divinely inspired
source thereof, and hence superior to all others - is evidence that they
are religious believers, and is hardly, in itself, evidence of
radicalism in their politics - however much *other* evidence of
radicalism in their politics we may have.
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The evidence of 'radicalism' was the issue that the Saudis were
re-writing the Koran to encourage seperatism amongst Muslims.
There is a lot posted in this newsgroup about the Koran saying this
and the Koran saying that, with the problem of translation being an
issue being dismissed. I think it is an issue, just as it has been an
issue with the Bible and ought to be taken into account.
It is very hard to have a theological debate about the meaning of
religious texts when you don't speak Arabic, so I hope that those who
rely on the less onerous version shall be encouraged to speak up!
Yes, I bet they did, for the programme made by John Ware, showed that the
so-called moderate voice of Islam as repesented by the Muslim Council of
Britain, is affilliated to some real dodge-pot radical organisations and
that their top man, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, was a noisy main player during the
Salman Rushdie affair and not the moderate he'd have you believe.
When questioned by Ware over his presence at a service for the wheelchair
bound Hammas spiritual leader whom the Israelis blew up, he refused to
answer questions regarding the fact that since this man had organised many
suicide attacks why, as a moderate, he'd attended. He also side-stepped
questions regarding the fact that the MCB was the only main-faith
organisation who had refused to attend the Holocaust Day memorial service
because they wanted it to be more 'inclusive'. They wanted mention of
'other peoples suffering' and asked that Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir be
included too. When the request became public, they then included Rwanda.
Sacranie came across as a snakey, deceitful, untrustworthy man whom, as one
of the whistleblowers stated, has an Islam for the Kafirs and a
different,more dangerous Islam for the believers.
Baroness Edwina Frogbucket
>On the other hand, if they consider it superior to consider, say,
>premarital sex as a very bad thing, rather than something not
>particularly important... then, of course, they are hardly different
>from a great many Christians, in Britain and elsewhere.
the fact that both fundy christianists and fundy islamists
seem to believe it is their business what other people do with their
own pudenda seems little recommendation of either group...
web site at www.abelard.org - news and comment service, logic,
energy, education, politics, etc 1,495,400 document calls in year past
all that is necessary for  walk quietly and carry
the triumph of evil is that  a big stick.
good people do nothing  trust actions not words
only when it's funny -- roger rabbit
Extremely well put. I didn't see the programme
but your view is very similar to Richard Dell's.
He seemed to end up more optimistic than before
about some Muslims - not Sacranie et al. His post
is "The Protocols of the Elders of the BBC" if
you would like to compare.
What has pre-marital sex got to do with secularism? It could be strictly
illegal in a secular society (ditto homosexuality) and legal, or even
encouraged, in a theocracy.
One might think of some periods in ancient Egypt, with the Pharoah cult
coexisting with temple prostitution, as a real world example of the latter.
The koran is written in arabic, arabic is the language of Saudi Arabia, the
Koran has been translated into different languages by fields of scholars,
with prefaces of anguish by the translaters, that to translate could be
considered to change, and have thus tried their hardest to make the
translations as close as possible to the original.
AFAIK, the koran has not changed one dot, since it was wrote, it is
forbidden to change it. It is possible to manipulate a translation, but not
to change the original text.
This of course, does not prevent people from interpreting the works in their
Indeed it was. That Sacranie fellah sounded well dodgy, as did many
others. I heard only two Muslims say anything reasonable. Sacranie
kept spouting typical 'politician' waffle for answers. Prog should be
repeated every week until moderate Muslims get the message.
Optimistic? I had become decidedly pessimistic by the end of the
programme. I didn't realise just how firm a hold the fanatics already
have in Britain. It is frightening.
Me too. I felt ended up feeling we are having the mickey taken out of us
behind our backs for being so naive, and trusting of people who basically
can't stand he sight of us and will use our patronising political
correctness to their advantage. More fool us.
Baroness Edwina Frogbucket
The amazing thing is, Al Muhajiroun hated the MCB or being too Westernised
and too involved with democracy!
Baroness Edwina Frogbucket
Thanks for that - excellent post by Richard Dell.
Baroness Edwina Frogbucket
>What has pre-marital sex got to do with secularism?
It happens to be an example of something both religious Muslims and
Christians are against.
My point was quite a simple one: while most of what that programme was
discussing was indeed of a dismaying nature, this particular point,
which the article on the BBC site about the programme included as
evidence that "moderate" Muslims were not so moderate as they seemed,
was not, in fact, evidence of extremism.
It was, of course, evidence that the moderate Muslims were not so
utterly secularized as to regard their religion as but a window-dressing
to life, while their core values came from other places, from the
Beatles to the Magna Carta. Would that more Anglicans were like that, I
think would be the likely reply from many quarters.
Basically, it seems as though, after devoting an entire programme to
genuinely disturbing evidence of continued support for violent extremism
among even the moderate Muslims - at least as long as its targets are
Jews instead of Englishmen and Americans - all of a sudden they have
added to the reasonable expectation that Britain's Muslim community
leave behind that extremism the quite unreasonable demand that they
become British first, and Islamic a distant second.
Such a demand is in itself not British. The French seem to think that
The fundamental problem with Sharia law is not what it actually says. It
could say anything and it would still be wrong. The problem is that it is
immutable and undemocratic. In the same way that what makes creationism
unscientific is not that it is an inherently bad theory, or that it is
impossible that it is true, but that it is not arrived at by the scientific
This is the problem with Islam (as written in the Koran). It's not that
stoning adulterers and cutting thieves hands off is barbaric, it's that the
punishment for those crimes are written in a religious text which supercedes
man-made law. It is an elected representative parliament which should
determine the law against theft not a religious scholar reading from a holy
text. That is what the so called "war on terror" is a fight about.
Most of them won't be happy until they've got us all living under
I was talking to a 'moderate' Muslim yesterday,intelligent bloke, an
engineer. He told me that he quite literally believes that he has a genie on
each shoulder, one writing down his good acts and one writing down his bad
ones. He said his religion tells him that this is so. I say if anyone with
some authority in his religion told him to blow himself up he would do it
The jihadis are going to picket Mohammed
Abbas for being a Zionist (would you believe)
when he visits London.
Our best hope is that they all put an end to
and take you fanatical zionist nutcases with them
Or is "Crowley" Muslim? We "stagnated"
into more than 50 murdered by Muslims and this
poster and his fellow Nazis approve.
An article published 20 October 2001
[And in few particulars have things changed
except for all the dead people]
Radical Islam In the U.K.
The "Stagnation Syndrome"
Colonel (Res.) Jonathan Fighel
ICT Researcher and Intelligence Analyst
On 23 February 1998, a statement appeared in the London-based Arabic
Newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi calling on all Muslims to kill Americans.
The statement, published by Osama Bin Laden and his associates,
purports to be a religious ruling, or fatwa, against the "Crusaders
and Jews," whether civilian or military (see Appendix). This document
is part of the evidence that links the bin Laden network to the
September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
It is not by chance that this fatwa was first published in England,
where its publication was protected by democratic rights and freedom of
speech. This is only one more example of the cynical exploitation of
the freedoms of Western civilization by radical Islamists for the
advancement of their extremist goals, including the abolition of those
very freedoms. In order to launch their Jihad against the
"Infidels" of the West, the Islamists have established a kind of
forward base among their enemies, operating under the protective
umbrella of democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech and
religion. The U.K. has thus become a safe haven for the launching of
Jihad against the rest of the Western world.
Zacarias Moussaoui, currently detained in New York on immigration-law
violations, may have intended to become the 20th hijacker in the
September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. He
was arrested two weeks before the attacks. Moussaoui's brother Abd
Samad Moussaoui says Zacarias once loved America. Speaking to CBS news
in the south of France on 3 October 2001, Abd Samad said that his
brother "once loved everything about America, including blue jeans
and Bruce Springsteen." However, he came to hate the U.S. after
joining a radical Islamic group in London that brainwashed him. [CBS 48
Hours, 3 October 2001]
Reuters reported on 17 October that Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist
branch detectives are now trying to piece together Moussaoui's life
in Britain. This was the result of a request by the American Federal
Bureau of Investigation for the investigation of about two dozen
terrorist suspects in the U.K.
Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaida terrorist organization is known to have
established an extensive support network in Great Britain, run through
an office in London called the "Advice and Reformation Committee,"
founded in July 1994. The director of the office, appointed by bin
Laden, is Khaled Al Fawaz, who is currently fighting an American
extradition request. American authorities believe that Fawaz was
involved in the planning and execution of the attacks on the U.S.
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In addition, the F.B.I. suspects Fawaz
of publishing fatwas in August 1996, calling for a Jihad against
Radical Islamists in Britain have also turned to the Internet as a tool
for propaganda, recruiting, and possibly command and control. An
extreme Islamic Internet site, www.umma.com, operating from Britain,
recently attacked the State of Israel's official sites by sending
masses of electronic mail containing anti-Semitic diatribes against
Israel and the U.S.. This was preceeded by calls for a
"cyber-jihad." In a lecture in Egypt, Sheikh Yussef Qaradawi, one
of Islam's foremost radical religious leaders, also called for an
"electronic Jihad" against Israeli and American Internet sites.
Only a few weeks before the attacks in the U.S., Qaradawi published a
fatwa on the web, in which he praised suicide attacks, calling them
"the highest form of Jihad."
Sheikh Yussef Qaradawi is highly regarded in Islamist radical circles,
and his rulings have been adopted by the suicide bombers of the Hamas
movement. He is concerned with the practical side of the Hamas cause as
well, and is said to be deeply involved in money laundering and
fundraising for Jihad, by means of charity funds registered in the U.K
to Hamas activists in the West Bank and Gaza.
Qaradawi heads of the Islamic Council of Europe, established in 1997
and operating from a London Address (16 Grosvenor Crescent), and is
involved in the Council For Fatwa and Research, also operating in the
U.K. Qaradawi's deputy, Sheikh Faisal Moulawi, published a new and
updated fatwa in support of suicide attacks on 3 October 2001, after
the September 11 attacks. This religious ruling was published on the
net in Arabic by IslamOnline.net.
Another Islamist enterprise based in Britain is the Azzam publishing
house, which has operated unhindered for several years. Azzam
Publications is named after Sheikh Abdallah Azzam, the spiritual mentor
of bin Laden during the period when he was active in the Afghan Jihad
against the Soviet Union (1979 - 1989). Bin Laden adopted Azzam's
extreme ideology with regard to the Jihad, and extended it to encompass
the struggle against the "infidels," first and foremost the United
States. It was on the basis of this ideology that bin Laden perpetrated
the largest terror attack in modern history-the attacks in New York
and Washington. Azzam Publications describes itself as "an
independent media organization providing authentic news and information
about Jihad and the Foreign Mujahideen everywhere."
The publishing house operates under a post box number (Azzam
Publications - BMC UHUD, LONDON, WC1N 3XX) and an Internet site,
www.azzam.com. According to the company's website, its staff is
comprised of volunteers who devote their spare time to furthering the
cause of the Jihad around the world. Their primary activity is the
publication of the works of pro-Jihad Islamic writers, either online or
through electronic commerce.
In London, Islamic opposition groups from around the world operate
unimpeded, calling for the downfall of various "heretical" Muslim
regimes. These groups include member of the Egyptian opposition,
including some of the leaders of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, the group that
in November 1997 perpetrated a murderous attack against tourists in
Luxor, killing 62 people, among them British tourists. One of those
most conspicuously involved in the attack was Yasser Taufik Al Sari,
who lives in West London. He depicts himself as director of a
charitable organization promoting human rights in Muslim countries.
Another opponent of the Egyptian regime, Omar Bachri Muhamad, also
lives in the U.K. He heads the al-Muhajiroun organization, which openly
calls for the murder of Jews and the institution of a worldwide Islamic
religious regime by violent Jihad. After the atrocities in the U.S. he
was among the first to praise the attack publicly.
Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, another outspoken Islamist, heads an
organization called The Supporters of Sharia'a, based in North
London. Al-Masri is wanted in Yemen for his involvement in dispatching
eight British Moslems to perpetrate terror attacks against Western
targets in Yemen. After the 11 September attack, the Al-Masri declared
that "there are many exultant people now. America is a crazy country
and whatever we perpetrate against it, is done in self-defense. If the
perpetrators of the attack were Moslems, justice is on their side."
So far, the U.K. has refused all requests from the Yemeni government
for al-Masri's extradition-a request that was renewed last week.
Security experts have contended for many years that the U.K. is a safe
haven for radical Islamic terror networks, which exploit British
freedoms to further their goals. Among the factors contributing to the
ease with which these groups operate is the U.K.'s liberal
immigration policy, the many flaws in the border control system, and
freedom from the obligation to carry identity cards. Britain is
meticulous in upholding the individual's rights, including the right
of radical individuals to orchestrate the eradication of the rights of
their opponents. Such individuals are protected from prosecution in
their countries of origin by British legislation that inhibits the
extradition of suspects. At the same time, prosecution in the U.K.,
with its the large and influential Moslem community, is fraught with
risks of internal strife, or accusation of racism.
Nor are the British security services properly equipped to expose and
thwart Islamist terrorist activity. As a rule, there is a complete lack
of understanding of the ideology and thought processes of the Islamist
groups, and their means for translating their beliefs into actions.
Intelligence gathering is difficult where such groups are concerned, as
they tend to operate in small cells whose members are well-known to one
another. In Britain, the penetration of such cells is made all the more
difficult by the lack of agents with the appropriate backgrounds and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently stated that fanatics who are
oblivious to the sanctity of human life and lacking in moral
limitations have become a tangible and immediate threat-a threat that
prior to September 11 was not taken seriously by those in power.
However, whether it was taken seriously or not, all the information was
available. The alarm bells should have been ringing for some in the
corridors of power in Whitehall. It has never been much of a secret
that an extensive radical Islamic infrastructure was operative on a
large scale in the U.K.; Islamic charity funds, bank accounts, Islamic
web sites, and newspapers in Arabic all serve as legitimate and legal
platforms for illegal activities and incitement. No real legal or
administrative steps were taken to counter the threat.
The British intelligence services, like the government, have for some
time been in a state of virtual stagnation with regard to the Islamist
threat. No pro-active measures have been taken to confront this
reality. The Islamist phenomenon was made light of , reflecting a
desire for domestic tranquility. There has been no real effort to
develop and enhance intelligence coverage and analysis capability; nor
was the recruitment of Arabic speakers made a top priority; nor were
there attempts to alter banking regulations to counter money-laundering
and fund-raising for terrorist organizations in Britain.
The military campaign against Afghanistan is only the initial foray in
a long, hard-sometimes frustrating-counter-terrorism struggle. It
would be a major mistake to target only Osama bin Laden and his
organization; Islamic radicals all over the world constitute a real and
immediate danger to human civilization, and not only to that of the
West. The U.K. in particular faces a real and imminent internal threat
from its own Islamist communities, no less than from bin Ladin's
al-Qaida network. The same ideology that motivates bin Ladin also fuels
other Islamic terrorist organizations, such as Hizballah, Hamas and the
Islamic Jihad - all of which have made themselves very much at home
in the liberal garden of the U.K. Now, the tiger that has grown fat on
British freedom is no longer a threat only to those who live in faraway
In the ongoing military attack against global terrorism, each and every
country that purports to fight terrorism must start in its own
backyard. In the case of Britain, this step is long overdue.
CBS News, Al-Jazzera Satellite TV, www.Azzam.com, Ha'aretz, I.B.A,
The Federation of American Scientists, IslanOnline, Reuters
Don't try to drag me into your ancient tribal blood feud you zionist
nut. Im English and sick of you demented middle-eastern death-cults
whether zionist or islamic. Why dont you piss off back to the Levant to
fight your bloodthirsty wars and leave us out of it.
I don't have one, Mohamed Adolf.
Unlike yourself I have no wish to live in
the Ummah waiting for the next jihadi -
fully supported by you and all other
antisemites - to explode.
Unless it is in a work accident.
Im not a muslim or a nazi.
We are not all extremist nutters like you are though in your deranged
fantasy-world anyone who disagrees with you gets branded as such.
The Bible's not changed, either. Translations have, though, both as
textual scholarship has improved and the languages into which the
original Greek and Hebrew texts have changed over time.
Two questions, if anyone happens to know the answer. First, what is the
textual status of the Koran? That is, from what 'original manuscripts'
are modern editions of the Koran (in Arabic or translation) prepared?
I'm willing to bet that, like the various books of the Bible, the
original text of the Koran was codified, a considerable time after its
composition, by eminent divines of the time from the various conflicting
and partial manuscripts then in circulation. Has any serious textual
scholarship, of the sort that informed the 1956 Jerusalem Bible, been
done. That was the first translation prepared according to modern
methods of textual and philological scholarship (i.e. as if it were an
edition of an ancient secular text, like the plays of Sophocles).
Second, what's the relationship between Koranic and modern Arabic?
Languages change over time, after all, and while English has probably
changed more than most, I'd be surprised if the Arabic of 1,300-odd
years ago is much like contemporary Arabic. The nearest historical
comparison of which I can think and with which I'm at all familiar --
that is, a language that was spoken and written continuously for 1,300
years would be Classical and Medieval Latin, which are very different
languages. I'd suspect that a modern speaker of Arabic needs a
translation of the Koran into contemporary Arabic, just as most modern
English-speakers find Chaucer pretty difficult in the original.
"It has been said," he began at length, withdrawing his eyes
reluctantly from an usually large insect upon the ceiling and
addressing himself to the maiden, "that there are few
situations in life that cannot be honourably settled, and
without any loss of time, either by suicide, a bag of gold, or
by thrusting a despised antagonist over the edge of a
precipice on a dark night."
The Bible is the work of many hands, over a long period of time, it has been
added to many times, with the most fundamental one been the New Testament,
again a work of many hands.
The central text of the Koran is suppose to be the work of one hand (God, as
told to Muhammed by Gabrial). It is not suppose to be interpretation, an
adaption or anything else, it is (if you believe it) suppose to be the
absolute and literal word of God, unlike the Bible, written in the first
But, like the bible, external observations are put in there, about Muhammeds
life and Gods advice given to him.
The koran itself as a book was compiled after muhammeds death. At some point
the text was sealed, but not before one or two political rulers had
interfered with it, and others had tried to put it back to what it was.
More info here:
(if you ask a muslim, he will without hesitation refer to the koran as the
unchanged word of god)
> Two questions, if anyone happens to know the answer. First, what is the
> textual status of the Koran? That is, from what 'original manuscripts'
> are modern editions of the Koran (in Arabic or translation) prepared?
the differences between the korans are slight, and probably wouldnt impinge
on a translation.
> I'm willing to bet that, like the various books of the Bible, the
> original text of the Koran was codified, a considerable time after its
> composition, by eminent divines of the time from the various conflicting
> and partial manuscripts then in circulation.
Yes, but the script was sealed......
Has any serious textual
> scholarship, of the sort that informed the 1956 Jerusalem Bible, been
> done. That was the first translation prepared according to modern
> methods of textual and philological scholarship (i.e. as if it were an
> edition of an ancient secular text, like the plays of Sophocles).
I think, outside of the west, this would be a dangerous path to go
> Second, what's the relationship between Koranic and modern Arabic?
> Languages change over time, after all, and while English has probably
> changed more than most, I'd be surprised if the Arabic of 1,300-odd
> years ago is much like contemporary Arabic. The nearest historical
> comparison of which I can think and with which I'm at all familiar --
> that is, a language that was spoken and written continuously for 1,300
> years would be Classical and Medieval Latin, which are very different
> languages. I'd suspect that a modern speaker of Arabic needs a
> translation of the Koran into contemporary Arabic, just as most modern
> English-speakers find Chaucer pretty difficult in the original.
With a good teacher, a school pupil can learn to understand Chaucer. I would
sugges the same with the Koran. Yes, interpretation plays a large part, with
any long difficult text, and many people are at the mercy of the
> Stephen Glynn wrote:
>> Gaz wrote:
>> The Bible's not changed, either. Translations have, though, both
>> as textual scholarship has improved and the languages into which
>> the original Greek and Hebrew texts have changed over time.
> The Bible is the work of many hands, over a long period of time, it
has been added to many times, with the most fundamental one been the New
Testament, again a work of many hands.
Sure. But you've still got the problem of sorting out the actual text
of (for example) any one of the Gospels. These will have been copied
and re-copied countlessly as they were distributed round the Christian
communities of the Roman Empire. Errors and omissions will have been
introduced, as will interpolations and corrections from other Gospels
when individual communities realised the copy they'd been sent didn't
contain some incidents from Jesus' life that their copy did and included
some events they hadn't heard of. That's basically why Matthew, Mark
and Luke are all pretty similar and John is to different; the people
using the Gospel attributed to him clearly weren't in such close touch
with the other groups who were using (and comparing) what are called the
> The central text of the Koran is suppose to be the work of one hand
> (God, as told to Muhammed by Gabrial). It is not suppose to be
> interpretation, an adaption or anything else, it is (if you believe
> it) suppose to be the absolute and literal word of God, unlike the
> Bible, written in the first person. But, like the bible, external
> observations are put in there, about Muhammeds life and Gods advice
> given to him. The koran itself as a book was compiled after muhammeds
> death. At some point the text was sealed, but not before one or two
> political rulers had interfered with it, and others had tried to put
> it back to what it was.
> More info here: http://www.solbaram.org/articles/islam04.html
> (if you ask a muslim, he will without hesitation refer to the koran
the unchanged word of god)
A similar process, then, from what you describe, to the history of the
Old and New Testaments; at some point people got together to compare the
different versions of the texts and agreed on a canonical version of
which texts were considered part of the Old and New Testaments
(basically St Jerome's version produced in 404). That's why we've got
the deuterocanonical texts -- texts that were part of the Greek
translation of the Old Testament (made about 300--200 BC), used by most
Jews in the Greek-speaking world, but not found in the original Hebrew
canon -- which Protestant Bibles normally omit but Catholic and Orthodox
Bibles include -- and contemporary texts that aren't considered part of
the canon at all, like the Gospel of Thomas or the Book of Enoch, though
some people at some point must have thought they were.
>> Two questions, if anyone happens to know the answer. First, what
>> is the textual status of the Koran? That is, from what 'original
>> manuscripts' are modern editions of the Koran (in Arabic or
>> translation) prepared?
> the differences between the korans are slight, and probably wouldnt
impinge on a translation.
But that's presumably translations of the 'sealed' version, rather as
most translations of the New Testament were, until quite recently,
derived either from Jerome's Vulgate or from from Erasmus' C16th Greek
'textus receptus) (thought to be prepared from late Byzantine sources)
plus a bit of back-translation from the Vulgate.
>> I'm willing to bet that, like the various books of the Bible, the
>> original text of the Koran was codified, a considerable time after
>> its composition, by eminent divines of the time from the various
>> conflicting and partial manuscripts then in circulation.
> Yes, but the script was sealed......
> Has any serious textual
>> scholarship, of the sort that informed the 1956 Jerusalem Bible,
>> been done. That was the first translation prepared according to
>> modern methods of textual and philological scholarship (i.e. as if
>> it were an edition of an ancient secular text, like the plays of
> I think, outside of the west, this would be a dangerous path to go
Possibly so. It was, of course, quite a dangerous thing to do with the
Bible in the C15th and C16th. If anyone's interested, btw, there's a
scholarly discussion of the textual history of the Bible at
>> Second, what's the relationship between Koranic and modern Arabic?
>> Languages change over time, after all, and while English has
>> probably changed more than most, I'd be surprised if the Arabic of
>> 1,300-odd years ago is much like contemporary Arabic. The nearest
>> historical comparison of which I can think and with which I'm at
>> all familiar -- that is, a language that was spoken and written
>> continuously for 1,300 years would be Classical and Medieval Latin,
>> which are very different languages. I'd suspect that a modern
>> speaker of Arabic needs a translation of the Koran into
>> contemporary Arabic, just as most modern English-speakers find
>> Chaucer pretty difficult in the original.
> With a good teacher, a school pupil can learn to understand Chaucer.
> would sugges the same with the Koran. Yes, interpretation plays a large
> part, with any long difficult text, and many people are at the mercy of
> the interpreters.
Sure. But with a good teacher you can learn to understand most things.
I was just wondering if the Koran is any more accessible to a
modern Arabic-speaker than would be the Greek New Testament to a modern
Greek-Speaker (i.e. not very).
The Panorama programme (of which I've read the transcript at
discusses at length the differences between Saudi and non-Saudi
translations of the Koran, in particular a bit about whether -- AIUI --
practising Jews and Christians can get into Paradise (non
Saudi-sponsored) or only those who convert to Islam (Saudi-sponsored).
The distinction appears to turn on the grammar and the tense of some
verbs in the particular passage.
Now, I don't know Arabic, but in most languages with which I'm at all
familiar it's not that difficult to sort out the tense of a verb and the
grammar of a sentence, though you might argue about what the statement
actually means. The fact that you've got radically different versions
suggests that even Arabic-speakers have difficulty understanding the
literal meaning, let alone the correct interpretation, of the original text.