Koran Reading Group

Inspired by the tremendous bravery of Ann Barnhardt:

I decided to lead a Koran reading group. Is Islam a religion of peace that’s been hijacked by a small minority of extremists, as we’ve been told repeatedly by both liberals and conservatives? Or is there something essential to Islamic doctrine that inspires and purports to legitimize acts of terrorism, as we’ve heard from people like Wafa Sultan, Robert Spencer, and Geert Wilders? Find out for yourself. Start by reading the Koran.

Beginning on May 10 we will meet weekly (Tuesdays from 5:00 to 6:00 or 6:30, PST), via the same platform I use to conduct my live webcasts, to discuss sections of the Koran. The platform allows for interaction via text-based chat, but also by voice using either a USB mic connected to your computer (VoIP) or telephone. We will read approximately 20 pages of the Koran per week, along with the corresponding commentary published by Robert Spencer. We’ll take the week of July 4th off, which will allow participants to celebrate the Declaration of Independence — the reason I am able to organize a reading group such as this — in the manner of their choosing. We will finish on September 6, several days before the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America. This will allow us a few days to plan an appropriate commemoration of that day, armed with our newfound knowledge.

The version of the Koran I plan to use is this relatively inexpensive one. Should you want to join the group, you will need to buy a copy of the Koran, plus pay a small fee ($20) to help me cover the cost of using the platform for the meetings. Space is limited, so if you would like to reserve your spot, click here to register.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Koran Reading Group

  1. Amy, will you be limiting “chat” comments to each week’s assigned text and supplementary reading, to avoid creating an “open thread”?

    Also, if participation drops as the weeks go by, will you continue even if there is little participation from others?

    I ask because of my experience with online study groups over the last 20 years or so, for example, here: http://www.studygroupsforobjectivists.com

  2. David McBride

    I would very much like to participate, so I registered for this, only to find out that the meetings are on Tuesday. I have Tea Party meetings on that day. How do I unregister or can we pick another day.

  3. Burgess, as long as I get enough people to sign up at the outset, then I’ll continue to the end, as long as people drop off.

    David, because there are several people who are in your situation, I have decided I will make recordings available to registrants in the group. Would you still want to stay registered, or should I delete your registration?

  4. I’ve registered: my ignorance of Islam is a hindrance when it comes to debate, especially living in the United Kingdom.

  5. Anonymous

    Will the recordings be made available to the general public at some point?

  6. M. Stern

    Must watch video regarding Islamic holy texts and Islamic infiltration of the US gov’t.

    http://www.rationalpublicradio.com/islamic-infiltration.html

  7. Puneeta Uchil

    Love it. Can I join too?

  8. Apologies: this is off-topic. But I LOVE your podcast. Is there a place to suggest topics? For instance: the group Hamas recently bombed an Israeli school bus, but “apologized,” saying they didn’t mean to target children (which of course is a lie; they have always targeted civilians, including children). So I wonder: 1. why apologize for something that has been standard policy since the PLO was created? And 2) how much American tax money goes to the Palestinians, and does any of this reach Hamas? And why don’t Republicans target this money for cuts?

    I blogged about this at http://donkennerlaughed.blogspot.com/ but I’d love to hear your take on it. Thanks!

  9. Amy,
    I, too, am in the situation others are in. I work second shift and would really like the downloads available to me for self-study. I’ve already registered.
    Thank you for doing this.

    • Reading a holy text is usually un-fun. And Bosch Fawstin, who has read the Koran as part of his study of Islam, says it can be tough to get through. Nonetheless, it seems that today it is something that we need to do in order to be intellectually armed. If we all do it together, and commiserate weekly, we might actually make it fun. And I’ll set up a discussion thread as well, for those who can’t attend live. Thanks for joining in!

  10. Talal

    Why are you using the commentary of Robert Spencer?

    there are good translations available here: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/

    this is another useful link: http://quranexplorer.com/quran/

  11. Ted Harlson

    I’m looking forward to participating here. I’ve registered, paid the $20 USD, and will try to put some time into this group. I need the website for the study group to participate – pending approval of course.

    I’m turning my attention to this to aquire accumulated knowledge “from the horses mouth” and for an objective view of this book.

    • Ted,

      Thanks for joining! By now you should have received the automated e-mail that tells you how to join the webcast. Soon I will be sending out a schedule of readings to all the participants.

      “See” you soon!

  12. Amy, I will be participating through written comments, but I am unsure what your expectations are.

    Normally in online study groups I participate by writing a summary of the assigned text or an outline. That much text doesn’t seem appropriate for the Webinar format.

    My special interest is in the Qur’an’s advocacy of and use of mysticism. I would like to briefly comment on that for each reading, if possible. After doing so, I could also make brief comments or offer questions via writing. Would that be appropriate to what you are planning to do?

  13. This verse seems pretty clear: “Fight such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe in neither God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay the tribute by hand with abject submission.” Sura 9, verse 29. Penguin Classics, p. 136 (Dawood translation).

    In other words, God (Allah) is telling Mohammed: Fight all the non-Muslims until they submit (abjectly). Doesn’t sound very peaceful to me.

  14. Proxywar

    How about a bible reading group?

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