To CAIR or not to CAIR?

In the spirit of ecumenism, I recently requested a copy of The Message of the Qur’an as translated by Muhammad Asad from CAIR’s website. CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations and purports to be a “a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding.” I say purports because many on the web claim that this organization is a front for terrorist funding and activity here in the U.S. Well, that’s just peachy, because I’ve now received materials from them and may get a visit from the local FBI???

Anyway, I had forgotten all about requesting a free Qur’an and expected a paperback of some sort. Instead, I got home from work and found a package on the kitchen table that weighed more than my firstborn child. The book was very an oversize, coffee-table book of glossy paper and color images.

It was a very nice book and must have cost lots of money to produce and give away free. If I were cynical, I’d say that they have an unlimited source of funds from oil, but I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and accept my free gift and read it. I’ve wanted to read the Qur’an myself for a long time now. My insatiable curiosity and quest for researching topics that I’m interested in always lead me to find the source of any claim and religion is no different. The book came with instructions on how to handle it I suppose so as not to make Allah mad. This is taking believing in your scriptures literally to a new extreme. I honestly think muslims believe this book dropped out of heaven.

Heaven sent?

To them, the ACTUAL book is holy regardless of mass printing. It’s like getting a copy of the Bible, translated by Billy Graham with notes, and instructions not to put coffee rings on it. I’m being glib but this kind of magical thinking is what fundamentalism in all religions is about.

The Jews have the Torah encased in gold. Catholics have sacramentals and the host. Protestants have the Bible, although even extreme rightists do not believe the Bible itself as an object is holier than other books are.

I will read it and let you know what I find. I know this is one translation/interpretation among many and some claim it’s an extremely sanitized version meant for unbelievers, but I will investigate and report back on it. I hope that since they have my home address, I won’t also receive a “visit” from my muslim neighbors in a Jehovah’s Witness kind of way. If anything happens to me, you heard it here first. 😉