‘Study Quran’ to counter extremism

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WASHINGTON: In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, a copy of the Holy Quran published in the US attempts to battle religious extremism through a commentary section that explains ambiguous scripture with commentary from both Shia and Sunni scholars.

Some extremist and terrorist groups have long been wrongfully using text from the Holy Quran to justify killings, torture and even rape.

 “But a new version of the Holy Quran published in the United States hopes to wrestle the Holy Book back from extremists. It’s called The Study Quran and it has been endorsed by a long list of American Muslim intellectuals,” Daniel Burke reports for CNN.

The Holy Book offers guidance on spirituality, ethics and even the conduct of war. However, Burke states that many of the popular English translations of the Quran contain no footnotes and little commentary, which leaves it open to manipulation by groups like the Islamic State.

“Here’s an example: chapter 47, verse 4, instructs Muslims to ‘strike the necks of those who don’t believe’. IS has used that text to justify their brutal beheading of captives,” Burke says.

That’s where the new Study Quran comes in to explain the Holy text in its proper context. “But as the Study Quran explains, that instruction was strictly confined to the battlefield. It is not a continuous command that all Muslims should follow all the time.”

In times of ever-increasing Sunni-Shia conflicts, this new version of Quran has another important feature to battle the animosity between the two branches of Islam. “This Holy Quran is also the first ever in English, according to its editors, to include footnotes and commentary from both Shias and Sunnis,” Burke said.

 “As an Imam told me, this kind of information is crucial towards persuading young Muslims not to take ISIS’s word for it but to find out for themselves what the Quran really says,” he added. This article originally appeared on CNN

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