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Donated Korans Prove Offensive in Translation

February 17, 2002

Re "New Version Will Replace Pulled Koran," Feb. 12: I am one of those "some" offended Jews who are heartened to see that the 1934 book "The Meaning of the Holy Quran" has been withdrawn from LAUSD libraries. However, I disagree with Michael Hirschfeld, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, who praises the settlement and states that head of the Omar Ibn Khattab Foundation Dafer Dakhil's apology was sincere and that Dakhil said it was "a mistake . . . and [that he] was interested in doing whatever possible to bridge differences."

It is clear that the only "mistake" made was that an astute teacher in our school system uncovered in this Koran the diatribes against the Jews and their religion. However, the fact remains that this anti-Semitic version of the Koran is a Muslim national bestseller and therefore influences all those who read it as a fundamental view of Judaism.

Only when the Muslim community removes this vile text from its own shelves will this Jew praise the settlement.

Sidney Gold

Granada Hills

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"Schools Remove Donated Books" (Feb. 7) discusses the removal of Korans from L.A. schools because of commentary that was deemed "derogatory toward Jews." The footnote quoted in the article, "The Jews in their arrogance claimed that all wisdom and all knowledge of Allah was enclosed in their hearts. But there were more things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in their philosophy. Their claim was not only arrogance but blasphemy," is not anti-Semitic. It does not claim that Jews are inferior or must be defeated by the Muslims.

Rather, it explains that the Jews at the time of the prophet were not willing to accept the message of Islam because they believed they already possessed the knowledge of God.

Furthermore, the Bible and Torah have equally, if not more, repulsive language dealing with Gentiles, women and slaves. If these books are allowed to remain in school libraries, the Koran must be allowed to as well.

Zeba Huq

Providence, R.I.

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Regarding the new version of the Koran that L.A. schools received: I understand that Jews might object to the footnote that suggests they are "arrogant" in claiming that "all wisdom and all knowledge of Allah was enclosed in their hearts."

However, I also object to the rest of that footnote: "There were more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy."

It is Hamlet's remark to his friend Horatio and should be attributed to William Shakespeare if it is going to appear in any new text of the Koran adopted by the LAUSD. We have enough trouble with students plagiarizing without having it modeled in one of our allegedly holy books!

Melinda Barth

Rancho Palos Verdes

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