Religious scholars are outraged, demonstrators have protested in two provinces, both houses of parliament are holding emergency debates, and the man who touched it all off has been arrested after trying to flee.
And how did he touch it all off? He distributed a new translation of the Qur’an into Dari that “misinterprets verses about alcohol, begging, homosexuality and adultery.”
Wow. Considering the mainstream Western view of the Book of Peace, the translation must say that alcohol use, begging, homosexuality and adultery should be punished severely instead of being met with compassion and mercy, right? The BBC report is silent about what exactly the translation said that was so offensive, but actually, given the mainstream teachings of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and the content of Qur’anic verses such as 5:90 (alcohol is an abomination), 7:80-81 (forbidding homosexuality), and 24:2 (100 lashes for adultery), it is more likely that the translation was more relaxed than the Arabic Qur’an on these matters. It may be akin to the Laleh Bakhtiar translation of the Qur’an that drastically rewrites 4:34 to remove reference to wife-beating.
If that is so, then in the West Zalmay might have been hailed as a reformer. But in Afghanistan reformers are not hailed.
“Afghan Koran distributor arrested,” by Alix Kroeger for the BBC News (thanks to all who sent this in):
The distributor of a new translation of the Koran has been arrested after complaints from religious scholars that the new edition was un-Islamic.
Former journalist Ghows Zalmay is also the spokesman for Afghanistan’s attorney general.
He was arrested on the border on Sunday while trying to flee into Pakistan.
Demonstrators protested in two Afghan provinces against the new translation of the Koran into Dari, one of Afghanistan’s two official languages.
Religious scholars are outraged at the new edition of the Muslim holy book.
They say that it is un-Islamic, that it misinterprets verses about alcohol, begging, homosexuality and adultery.
They also complain that it does not contain the original version in Arabic as a parallel text for comparison.
Both houses of the Afghan parliament have held emergency debates.
Senators have called for Mr Zalmay and the translator, himself a mullah, to be punished.
One said Mr Zalmay was “worse than Salman Rushdie”, whose book, The Satanic Verses, caused widespread outrage in the Islamic world.