In September of 2002, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) began an ambitious project, whereby thousands of libraries across America would be provided with sets of books promoting Islam. The books included a version of the Quran that was banned by the Los Angeles school system for having anti-Semitic commentaries. After a long interval, where CAIR appeared to have disavowed itself from the book, it (the book) has made a comeback -- a cameo appearance on CAIR’s national website. The following was written as a reiteration of a recent past, when a radical Muslim group attempted to propagate hatred throughout our country, under the guise of education.
Amana Publications is based in Beltsville, Maryland. For over 20 years, it has been producing books for the Muslim community. Its top “bestselling” book goes by the title of “The Meaning of THE HOLY QUR’AN,” and it is considered to be the most widely read English translation of the Quran in the world.
One of the book’s features that sets this version of the Quran apart from others is its running commentary. It’s probably the key to what makes this book so popular. It is also the one thing that has brought the book a large degree of notoriety.
The English translation of the Amana Quran was performed by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. According to Amana, Ali’s first rendition was completed in the late 1930’s, on his 65th birthday. Along with the translation, Ali is credited with authoring a scholarly commentary throughout the text. The commentary is voluminous, making the book much larger in size than other Qurans; the latest edition -- the tenth edition -- is 1824 pages.
Besides the standard anti-Semitic statements found in the Quran, such as “Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors,” Ali’s commentary went that much further with its anti-Jewish rhetoric. Some quotes from the text include:
- “The Jews in their arrogance claimed that all wisdom and all knowledge of Allah were enclosed in their hearts… Their claim was not only arrogance but blasphemy.”
- “A trick of the Jews was to twist words and expressions, so as to ridicule the most solemn teachings of Faith.”
- “[T]here is a catalogue of the iniquities of which the Jews were guilty, and for these iniquities we must understand some such words as: ‘They are under divine displeasure.’”
- “The Jews blaspheme and mock, and because of their jealousy, the more they are taught, the more obstinate they become in their rebellion… Their selfishness and spite sow quarrels among themselves, which will not be healed till the Day of Judgment.”
It is because of these statements that, in February of 2002, the Los Angeles public school system chose to pull every copy (nearly 300 copies) of “The Meaning of THE HOLY QUR’AN” from the shelves of all of its libraries. As stated by the Los Angeles Times, “After reviewing the book, [director of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Jim] Konantz instructed principals to secure all copies in their offices until the district determines what to do with them.” Later, the decision was made to ban all future usage.
However, the translation and commentaries are not the only overt signs of anti-Semitism in this Quran. Looking under the word “Jews” in the index of the book, one finds the following: “became apes and swine,” “cursed,” “enmity of,” “greedy of life,” “slew prophets,” “took usury,” “unbelief and blasphemy of,” “work iniquity,” and “write the Book with their own hands.”
The editor of the Amana Quran is the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT). In March of 2002, IIIT’s Virginia offices were raided by the FBI in a terror financing probe. IIIT had funneled tens of thousands of dollars to groups and individuals associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
The same year that the Los Angeles public school system removed the Amana Quran from its library shelves for having virulently anti-Semitic content -- the same year that the editor of the Quran, IIIT, was raided by the FBI for its role in funding terrorists -- the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) elected to include the book in its library project.
CAIR was founded in June of 1994 as a front for the terrorist organization Hamas. 13 years later, in June of 2007, CAIR was labeled by the U.S. government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for a Dallas, Texas trial that dealt with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.
On September 11, 2002, the one year anniversary of the worst tragedy to ever take place on American soil, CAIR announced a new initiative, titled ‘Explore Islamic Culture & Civilization.’ The goal of the project was to place sets of Islamic-oriented books in thousands of libraries across the United States. It was funded in part by a $500,000 gift from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
Just prior to Bin Talal getting involved in the initiative, in April of 2002, he donated $27 million during a three-day telethon, which was being sponsored by the Saudi government group, the Committee for Support of the al-Aqsa Intifada. The total amount raised by the telethon was $109 million; Bin Talal had been the single largest donor. According to Israeli intelligence, the money that was raised went to assist families of Palestinian terrorists, including families of suicide bombers.
The Amana Quran was not the only problematic text in CAIR’s library set. One of the others was Jamal Badawi’s ‘GENDER EQUITY IN ISLAM,’ a book produced by American Trust Publications (ATP). ATP is the publishing arm of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an organization that, like CAIR, was named by the U.S. government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for the Dallas trial.
But what’s most disturbing about this book is not its publisher, but its content, specifically the fact that it attempts to justify the beating of women by their husbands. In it, Badawi writes, “There are cases... where a wife persists in deliberate mistreatment of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage... Such a measure is more accurately described as a gentle tap on the body...” The Amana Quran refers to this as a “light beating.” Badawi calls it a “permissible beating.”
Another of the texts was Paul Findley’s ‘Silent No More.’ In the book, Findley lauds convicted terrorist Abdurahman Alamoudi as “a leader in Islamic affairs.” He exalts Neo-Nazi William Baker as “a Christian leader” and states, “Not enough Americans read the messages of… Baker.” And about the former Executive Director of the American Muslim Council (AMC) Eric Erfan Vickers, who described the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster as “an act of divine retribution against Israel,” Findley calls him “a rising voice in St. Louis politics.” Additionally, Findley memorializes each of these individuals with color pictures.
In May of 2005, CAIR, working off the success of its library project, launched a new campaign offering a free copy of the Quran to anyone who asked. The initiative was given the name, ‘Explore the Quran.’ According to CAIR, it was in response to an article printed in Newsweek magazine, which falsely claimed that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay flushed a Quran down the toilet.
The Quran that was chosen for the CAIR campaign was, of course, the Amana one. It was used by the group, up until October of 2006, when CAIR decided to change to a new version published in Bristol, England, ‘The Message of THE QUR’AN.’ This edition was probably selected as a result of the controversy from the Amana text, for the simple reason that it was translated and contains commentary by a Jewish convert to Islam named Muhammad Asad (formerly Leopold Weiss).
For over a year, CAIR had sought to put distance between itself and its former Los Angeles banned edition of the Quran. Nevertheless, on Thursday, February 21, 2008, the Amana version resurfaced in an article CAIR-National posted on its website about another convert to Islam, a doctor at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center named Jane Colmer-Hamood. The article, ‘Doctor Explains What it Means to Be a Muslim Woman,’ contains a photo of Colmer-Hamood proudly holding up the infamous Amana Quran. And the picture was not only found within the article itself, but it was placed, as well, on CAIR’s homepage, and it is still there, as of this writing.
The reunion of CAIR and its former Quran was surely a momentous occasion for the radical Islamic group, as it had previously referred to the text as the “most respected English translation of the Quran.” One day, maybe CAIR will, yet again, embrace its “most respected” holy book -- an unindicted co-conspirator with a banned text. The two, no doubt, are destined for each other.