By Raymond Ibrahim – Special for Coptic Solidarity
While discussing the history of the Quran in Europe during a televised interview on the Arabic-language program, “Allah Knows,” Dr. Ali Gom‘a, one of Egypt’s most respected clerics, said that early European translations of the Koran were connected to Christian desires both to learn more about Islam and its language, Arabic.
But then he made the following assertion:
The [European/Catholic] Church at that time was preoccupied with trying to distort the Noble Quran, for instance when Pope Urban II ordered a warped translation of the Noble Quran [to be made] into Latin so that Islam would not spread to Europe; and many knights of the crusades were returning to Europe as Muslims. All these matters frightened and caused the papacy to try to eliminate attempts for Islam to spread on the [European] continent since the sixteenth century.
Such claims must surely raise eyebrows, at least among those knowledgeable of true history. There is no evidence of “many knights” —one cannot even think of a single one—returning to Europe as Muslim converts.
As for the claim that Christians intentionally tried to distort and disseminate the Quran in vernacular translations in order to dissuade Christians from converting to Islam, the only truth to this is that Christians were indeed hostile to Islam, reciprocally so. However, and quite to the contrary, their way of attacking it was to translate the Quran with great and meticulous care—for they were convinced that nothing quite so discredited Islam as the Quran itself, which, they argued, so obviously did not reflect the will of God.
Thus like his colleague, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb (once voted the “most influential Muslim in the world”) who claims Muslims lived in harmony for centuries—until, that is, Israel came along and manipulated them into killing each other—Dr. Ali Gom‘a is more proof that it is not merely “crazy” or “fringe” clerics who have an utterly paranoid and ahistorical sense of reality, but rather the most decorated and mainstream ones.
Photo Credit: Alchetron