Holy Smoke: the Guardian's Love Affair With the Koran

* Weird stuff from Londonistan: The Guardian’s love affair with the Koran

Damian Thompson

“Can this holy text transcend time and culture?” asks this morning’sGuardian. The paper has finished “blogging the Qur’an“, as it spells it, and the answer to the question seems to be a resounding YES! (with a few politically correct reservations, but voiced ever so sensitively).

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Guardian writers argue the Koran is often misunderstood

Since December, Left-wing Muslim maverick Ziauddin Sardar has been working through the verses of the Koran, discovering untold riches and, would you believe it, that the holy book’s injunctions to kill unbelievers have been much misunderstood. Here is his interpretation of the infamous “Sword Verse”, whose reference to slaying  the enemy wherever you find him is, he exclusively reveals, often taken out of context.

Oh, and it seems that the Koran is also neutral on homosexuality. Phew! That’ll come as a relief to Guardian readers who have always had difficulty reconciling their admiration for the astonishing riches of Muslim tradition with the un-PC Islamic practice of executing homosexuals.

Zia Sardar has spent years trying to square the circle of his Islamic beliefs with his right-on radicalism. Blogging the Qu’ran – sorry, Qur’an (I think theGuardian style book has changed) – has enormously helped him. And, luckily, he has also been able to draw on the expertise of columnist Madeleine Bunting, whose exceedingly brief period as director of the think-tank Demos– one month! – provided us with such a delicious comic spectacle a couple of years ago.

Madeleine, bless her, has undertaken to break down a wall of misunderstanding regarding the Quu’r’a’an (her own preferred spelling). You might have thought that this important task had been accomplished by ex-nun “Koran” Armstrong years ago, but no.

“At a recent conference, I was sitting between a cabinet minister and a senior economist when they fell into conversation about their summer reading – the Qur’an. Both had been horrified by what they had read,” writes Bunting. And why would that be? Over to you, Madeleine:

They fall into a long tradition of western incomprehension at this holy book.”

Thought so.

More crock from the Grunard:

Death for apostasy?

AC Grayling and the Council of Ex-Muslims are distorting the picture and undermining efforts to bring change

Reading AC Grayling’s latest article and listening to the protestations of the Council of Ex-Muslims, you would think that the death penalty is being gratuitously and frequently applied to those who renounce Islam or harbour thoughts of apostasy.

Read it if you must. A pain in the arse…