Remembering Uzza

36 Beowulf and the Koran

(3.5 draft)

UzzaUzza: I learned Arabic because I had no choice. I learned English because it would allow me to meet interesting people; and I learned to speak and read French because I love the language.

Gerry: So, you can read the Koran in the original?

Uzza: That is total crock [as Uzza gets more inebriated her language becomes more familiar].

Gerry: Huh?

Uzza: If I gave you a 1,400-year-old English text could you even begin to make sense of it?

Gerry: Beowulf is a thousand years old. It is the oldest preserved old English long story. I dare anyone with a normal understanding of the English language to attempt to read it in the original without throwing up his or her hand in despair.

Uzza: And that goes for a 1,400-year-old Arabic text, to a lesser extent. What you call the original Koran was written in classical Arabic, when punctuation was almost nonexistent and no vowels. To make matters worse, research indicates that the original Koran contained verses in Hebrew and in Aramaic, the language associated with Jesus. The Koran has probably gone through more editing to make it understandable than any other so-called Holy Book.

Bob: Then, why do preachers say that unless you understand Arabic you will not be able to understand the Koran?

Uzza: Because that is what they want you to believe. They want to discourage you from reading the damn book.

Gerry: The “damn book!”

Uzza: You know what I mean. Any good translation will do. I recommend the one by Majid Fakhry, the first mainstream translation by a native Arab speaker. Any good translation will be able to accurately communicate Allah's Message and it's the message we should be concerned with.

Bob: Then, why the emphasis on learning Arabic?

Uzza: It is a way of maintaining cohesion and a sense of purpose for the struggle ahead; to give you a greater appreciation that you belong to a community of like-minded people and not that other one which does not care to live according to the Book. If they did they too would learn to read Allah’s “glorious Koran” in easy Arabic.

Archie: Glorious Koran?

Uzza: Allah is not shy when it comes to promoting His Book.

Bob: You can say that again.

Gerry: Arabic is not easy to learn. I’ve tried and gave up.

Uzza: For those not used to reading and writing from right to left and whose language contains vowel sounds which are explicit not implied Allah’s native language can be a difficult language to master, I agree.

Bob: And all this time I thought God’s native language was Hebrew.

Uzza: Learning Arabic may have nothing to with getting the Koran right or pleasing Allah and everything to do with a winning strategy. Having everyone learn Arabic is a tremendous advantage for an international force bent on the destruction of a foe who must depend on interpreters to gage what is happening.

Gerry: If Arabic offers a strategic advantage and is a way for Muslims, I mean believers, to set themselves apart from the greater population, why did countries like Canada introduce Arabic immersion in schools with the objective under its multicultural policy. To quote some Minister, ”to facilitate the integration of children from Muslin countries”.

Uzza: Because they are stupid, stupid, stupid and so is unthinking multiculturalism, which, by the way is probably responsible for an uptick in what Western jurisprudence considers a crime and some religions don't.

Archie: You mean one religion, don't you?

Uzza: Do not put words in my mouth. Steven Weinberg said that religion makes good people do bad things. It may have to do with the Koran replacing moral imperatives in Judeo-Christian teaching with relativistic ones, not only removing the sin aspect, but actually encouraging stealing, lying and generally treating someone with contempt if that someone happens to be an unbeliever.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with a country seeking to accommodate the innocuous traditions and customs of different cultures within a national identity. What is wrong is not differentiating between the benign and the malignant thereby allowing champions of irreconcilable value systems to compete Darwinian-like for supremacy where the most ruthless usually wins. A concept Muhammad and those who follow his example understood only too well.