Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Koranic verses on the duty to kill

Koranic verses on the duty to kill

We’ve learned a lot since Antony Thomas’s drama-documentary Death of a Princess set Saudi Arabian blood boiling in 1980, but the director’s latest television film The Qur’an (for Channel 4) will certainly cause anger among many Muslims when it is screened on Monday.

Only a fool supposes that what you see on television is what you get. The scene that amused me was shot at the lovely, ancient convent of Saydnaya in Syria. Over a background of chanting, the narrator says in a hushed tone…

The film The Qur’an asks a serious question, though, which is: if Muslims believe that the Koran is the timeless and unchanging word of God, how come Muslims behave in such diverse ways?

We see Sufi men and women sitting together for prayer, others whirling in dance; Shia formally beating themselves and seeking the intercessory prayers of the eighth Imam, Ali Reza; a German scholar calling for a “new interpretation and reading of the Koran”; a poor little girl being genitally mutilated; Israelis being blown up. There’s something here to offend everyone.

After an hour or so, the viewer might wonder whether the film’s title should have been Muslims rather than The Qur’an. Yet the role of the Koran may be a matter of life and death to non-Muslim Westerners.

…Yet trouble, from the point of view of the West, comes precisely when violent sectarian Islamists set themselves up without expertise as interpreters of Koranic verses. This one (9:5), has proved particularly dangerous: “Kill the polytheists wherever you find them, and take them and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush.”

To Islamist extremists, Christians, because they associate creatures (such as Jesus) with God, count as polytheists.

(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk

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