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3:43 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

Letter treated Quran, Islam unfairly (Guest Column)

In response to Luca Zanna's recent letter to Kingman Daily Miner [Jan. 4, "Comparing the Bible and the Quran"] in which an attempt has been made to project one scripture superior to the other and one prophet flawless as against the alleged wickedness of the other: References were quoted for some of the texts and conveniently omitted for others and many of them were taken out of context. The writer of this letter quoted Bukhari and Muslim and Ibn Ishaq 10 times; Mathew and John six times; and the Quran only three times.

About 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world believe that the Quran is a divine book of revelations delivered to Muhammad through archangel Gabriel and concurrently scribed and memorized by many followers of the Prophet (Suhaba) and presented in its final format no later than 22 years after the death of the prophet - and has never been altered or edited in 1,400 years. That is why it has been declared as authentic by many western authors such as Dr. Maurice Bucaille (the author of "The Bible, The Quran and Science").

The Books of Ahadith (Sayings of the Prophet) are not considered on par with the Quran in authenticity. The reason: these books were written about 200 years after the Prophet and the authors relied on oral tradition which had passed on to the contemporary narrators through many generations of their predecessors, just like Talmud and some of the gospels.

Perhaps you would agree with me that newspaper columns are such a limited format to discuss the merits and demerits of the texts of scriptures. However, I believe that the letter is deplorable because it tries to inflame the already existing hatred and Islamophobia and serves no useful purpose if we want to heal the divisions that have engulfed the entire world.

To its credit, the Constitution of the United States of America grants to her citizens full freedom of expression and religious practice. The founders knew that pilgrims who arrived here in the 16th and 17th century had been religiously persecuted in their native European countries. They didn't want any repetition of that.

Like all other people of faith, Muslims feel at home in this great country partly because they can practice their faith without any fear of persecution. I believe that a supermajority of Muslims are peace-loving and law-abiding citizens. Violence in the name of God, though frequently committed in the past, must come to an end and all people of faith or no faith must live together as friends. We must all condemn terrorism in all shapes and forms.

I was greatly impressed by Pope Francis, who attended an interfaith dialogue at Ground Zero in New York a few months ago. Following that tradition, a Day of Peace and Unity will be celebrated at 425 Spring St. in Kingman at 6 p.m. this Friday. I would like to invite Zanna and others who are interested. This has been organized by the interfaith religious leaders of this community and I applaud their efforts toward religious harmony.