By Shelley Smith
As the Bible and the Koran continue to influence human events, can the urging of the spread of the Word spark further fierce global conflicts in the future?
President Bush is urging a push for Mideast peace to fight against terrorism and extremists who seek new weapons and new operatives to overthrow governments and attack the U.S., while public views and terrorist recruitment are still being strongly influenced by the battle over the Bible vs. the Koran
The commonality of Christians and Muslims both being the “people of the book” has turned into a marketing battle and a playing field for distortions of scripture of the Holy Books.
With Christianity and Islam influencing public opinion, how the Books’ scriptures are interpreted play a key role in the complexities of terrorist beliefs and actions. The Koran is the most widely read book in the Islamic world and reciting the Koran is the backbone of Muslim education. In Iran, if an Iranian becomes a human repository or “hafiz” of the book, they qualify for an automatic university degree. Reciting the Koran has been an Iranian tournament in the Islamic world that attracts hundreds of thousands of Muslims.
The tools of technology through modernization have helped spread the books of the Bible and the Koran. Christian conversion is wide spread, but Islamic expansion has mostly come about through population growth and global migration, rather than conversion.
But there is a difference between Christian missionary works and that of Muslim missionary works. While Christian missionaries work to win the souls of others and reinvigorate the faithful, Muslim missionaries work to not just reinvigorate the faithful, but encourage zealotry towards their religion and are less aimed at the winning of new souls.
The other difference that further divides the Christian and Muslims through the teachings comes through the Saudi view. Through the Saudi view they do stress the passages that affirm the Christian Gospel and the Hebrew Torah as revelations of God and a path to salvation, but insist Muhammad delivered the final revelation from God, but Christianity and Judaism lost their ability to save souls.
Wealth and globalization through the Internet, television and radio is a bonanza to both religions. Saudi oil wealth distributes approximately 30m Koran through a vast network of mosques, Islamic societies and embassies to increase the weight of Islam. With Al- Qaeda terrorist video messages now available for download from militant Web sites to help terrorist organization and their followers spread the group’s messages of their interpretation of Islam and monotheism to make international audiences more aware of their movement; this does not help the Muslim faithful who do follow the peaceful interpretation of their Islamic faith or those Muslims who work against terrorist actions or motives. As the “war on terror” has disrupted Missionary organizations, Christian and Muslims are finding it difficult to spread the word. The Muslim use of technology and internet publishing providers are making the literal translation of the Koran uncomfortable for the Muslims. Then too, many American’s are lacking in both the understanding of Christian and Islamic biblical knowledge. As the Muslims prefer to read the Koran in the original Arabic, many Muslims find it is difficult to understand and illiteracy rates are high throughout the Muslim world. Then there is the problem of the production of counterfeit Korans that are designed to plant doubt in the minds of Muslims as some Christian groups try to convert Muslims. Also, within this uneven playing field in the U.S., Muslims can build mosques, but in Saudi Arabia and Iran the Bible is barred from distribution.
While there is a difference between getting and understanding a Holy Book there lays the problem too of the laws that rule under the Muslim religion against Christian apostasy in many parts of the world. Many Christians lack the understanding of Islamic religious law. The traditional Islamic law states to encourage the Islamic faithful to renounce their faith is a crime and the penalty for apostasy by a Muslim is death. Without an educated understanding, knowledge and an acceptable respect of each others cultures and religions, the possibility of peace and “the lamb lying with the lion” will continue to not exist. Global terrorism and related criminal activities that are correlated with religion will continue to thrive based on misinterpretation and the will not to settle differences.
The Battle of the Books – Economist.com, Dec. 2007
Peace Plan, Iran on Bush Mideast Agenda, AP Jan 2008
al-Qaida Videos Now on Cell Phones AP, Jan 2008
The Harvest Fields: Statistics 2007 Edition
About the Author
Shelley Smith is an expert in analysis and research on national and international law, foreign affairs, criminal justice systems and the psychology of criminal behavior. Smith is currently working toward a B.A in Intelligence Studies with a focus on analysis and terrorism at American Military University.