A Washington-based Muslim group is reacting to the controversy caused by a recent Newsweek magazine article by giving away copies of the Quran.
The story, which was later retracted by Newsweek, said US interrogators in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a copy of the Quran down a toilet. However, media around the world picked up the story.
Now, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, has announced it will give a copy of the Quran to anyone requesting one. Rabiah Ahmed is the communications coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She tells English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua why the group is taking the action.
She says, ”We feel that it is an opportunity for Muslims to share the Quran with the general American public so that they could appreciate it and respect it just as Muslims do.”
She says CAIR has made it easy for anyone to request a copy. “We’ll be launching a website, which will be linked to our website, which is www.cairnet.org, and it will allow Muslims to sponsor Qurans. The Qurans will approximately cost $25.00 each. So, we’re asking Muslims in the community to donate money to pay for the printing and the shipping and handling for these Qurans. And the other element of the website will be for Americans to register to get a Quran free of charge in the mail.”
What does CAIR hope to accomplish? Ms. Ahmed says, “Well, we’re trying to take a negative situation and turn it into something a bit more positive. In the post 9/11 climate there is a lot of misunderstanding about Islam and there have been a lot anti-Muslim incidents. And surely we feel the best way to tackle the ignorance is through education and hopefully this project will help to do that.”