18 June 2017

Koran ‘needs new interpretation’ to help fight terror

An Islamic scholar who has spent close to 5,000 hours challenging the views of terrorists in British prisons says a “radical and new interpretation” of the Koran is required to confront extremism.

Mamadou Bocoum, a prison chaplain who has provided Islamic guidance to inmates for a decade, says new editions of the Koran should be introduced to mosques, schools and jails with footnotes for verses discussing jihad and martyrdom.

He said that deeming terrorists “non-Muslim” because of their barbarism overlooked the twisted justification they sought from scripture for their actions.

“I am not asking for a new Koran, I am asking for interpretations, mainly regarding those verses that can be difficult and have a different meaning when taken out of context,” he said in his first newspaper interview.

.... “All the verses that deal with jihad, war, Jews and Christians need to be accompanied by a footnote,” he said. For example, a verse in the Koran that says “do not take Jews and Christians as your allies” and another urging “kill them wherever you find them” should be read in the context of a third verse: “God does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes”, meaning that those who do not attack you should be left alone.

He said extremists also drew on scripture to amplify their grievances against British foreign policy, although a clear interpretation could deal with that. “We should feel confident enough that we can reinterpret the text to reflect universal values of human rights,” he said. “Equality among men and women and respect of other religions and free choice — whether it be respecting people’s choices which relate to sexual orientation or inter-religious marriages.” [The Times (£)] Read more