Monday, December 1, 2008

Quran On Demand Text Service - By an Israeli Company

I think this is a great idea, but then: I'm no Muslim.

Pelephone has a Quran text service. Muslims in Palestine can get verses of the Koran on their mobile phones. I understand that the Salah prayer routine should be done five times a day - so this should be a big help.

The screen display looks like an actual Quran that users can scroll through

It's New, So it Must be an Attack on Islam?

Happily, no Imam has issued a fatwa against Pelephone's Quran text service. Yet.

In fact, a researcher of Islam, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, thinks it's a good idea: " 'I'm not a subscriber yet, but I think it's a very practical idea. As a researcher, I can see myself going into the Koran via a 3G phone and urgently retrieving a specific verse. It's certainly something accessible and good. I also think that the Muslim community very much likes all the technological innovations on the market,' " he said in a article.

It's early days, though. The service is a couple weeks old, so some Muslim leaders may not have heard of it yet. I can see a few objections right off the bat:
  • Pelephone is owned by Bezeq
    • That's the Israel Telecommunication Corporation Ltd.
    • Jews?!
    • Providing a Quran text service??!!
  • Pelephone has had a similar service for the Christian Bible for about six months
    • Words of the Holy Quran getting mingled with un-Islamic text on the cell phone channels?!
    • And/or -
      How dare these Jews insult Islam by having this service for those Christians before us?
  • This service could lead to great evil
    • Like men and women praying in the same room

That's Ridiculous! Muslims Wouldn't Act That Way

Many wouldn't: and don't. Quite a few Muslims, unhappily, aren't the best spokespersons for their beliefs. Or, rather, for what I sincerely hope the beliefs of Islam are.

Islam doesn't have a monopoly on crackpots, of course. On the other hand, the ruler of the House of Saud, in his self-proclaimed capacity as "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" is running a kingdom that doesn't quite seem to have made the transition into the thirteenth century. Examples:
  • The head of Saudi Arabia's highest tribunal declared open season on network owners.
  • A former Saudi diplomat to Washington, D.C identified Mickey Mouse is one of Satan's soldiers
  • A highly-respected Saudi cleric said that women should only use one eye at a time when they're let outside
And that's just in the last half of 2008. Then, there's the case of the Egyptian doctor who was sentenced to death by slow torture.

Granted, "death" wasn't in the sentence. But, when you put a 53-year-old man in a Saudi prison and lash him 1,500 times over a period of 15 years: death isn't too unlikely. It works out to about 70 lashes a week, by the way. Another doctor was sentenced, too. The charge seems to be malpractice. A Saudi princess demanded morphine. When she got her way, she 'then' became an addict. So the doctor must be flogged. Probably to death.

It's not just Saudi Arabia, of course: there's a fairly steady stream of things like the strange case of the teddy bear vs. Islam in Sudan. As I've said before, with friends like these, Islam doesn't need enemies.

No News Will be Good News

If this dial-a-Quran service doesn't get in the news again, that will be very good news. I sincerely hope that devout Muslims in that part of the world can accept an assist from Information Age technology. Even if it doesn't come from a pure Islamic source.

Finally, some good sense from " '"The integration of Muslim ideas that were born in the seventh century with 21st century gadgets is a welcome phenomenon. In my class, for example, there are Arab students who download ringtones from the Internet that are the Adhan, the chant the muezzin uses for reciting the call to prayer. When they forget to turn off their cellphones, I suddenly hear the muezzin in the middle of my class.' " ( (November 24, 2008))

In the news: Background: Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.


Francesca Najea Lujan said...

Awww Norski -
I'm pained, my husband is asking why I look so stressed out reading this - I'm dissappointed that you paint a picture of muslims as being so close-minded as to not buy from Jews, and to be so mean-spirited as to lump the billions of muslims world-wide to the strange cultural practices of the Saudis. I expected more from you.

Brian H. Gill said...

Francesca Najea Lujan,

Sorry you feel that way.

Not all my posts are as informal as this. You might be interested in:

"Ayman al-Zawahiri: The Face of Islam?"
(January 6, 2009)
(I don't think he is, BTW)

" 'Will the Real Islam, Please Stand Up?' ".
(February 6, 2008)

"Muslims Are Not All Alike"
(August 19, 2007)

And other posts - you could try entering Islam or Muslim in this blog's search box (upper left corner, in most browsers).

I'm sorry if I distressed you. I realize now that you might not realize that I was being rather informal, and was referring to a marked tendency of (some) people who say they are Muslims, to regard Jews and anything related to Jews as, will, dirty.

For that matter, there are quite a few people who seem to think they are Christians, who feel the same way. They're generally not too approving of Catholics, either.

Which is an entirely different topic.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.