LA Schools Remove Korans with Anti-Semitic Notes

Source: Reuters News Service | Thursday February 7, 2:35 PM ET

LA Schools Remove Korans with Anti-Semitic Notes

LOS ANGELES - Some 300 translations of the Koran, donated to Los Angeles schools by a local Muslim foundation to promote religious understanding after Sept. 11, have been removed because of an accompanying anti-Semitic commentary, school board officials said on Thursday.

The book, “The Meaning of the Holy Koran,” is a 1934 translation of the Muslim holy text, which includes footnotes dating from that era which describe Jews variously as “arrogant” “illiterate” and “men without faith.”

They were donated to schools by the Omar Ibn Khattab Foundation in Los Angeles to promote religious tolerance and understanding after the suicide plane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, blamed on Muslim extremists.

But the Los Angeles Unified School District said they were pulled from library shelves this week after a history teacher noticed the derogatory remarks in the footnotes.

One passage in the commentary calls Jews “men without faith”. Another footnote says of Jews, “Many of them, even if they could read, were no better than illiterates for they knew not their own true scriptures, but read into them what they wanted, or at best their own conjecture.”

Dafer Dakhil, director of external affairs at the Omar Ibn Khattab Foundation, on Thursday regretted that the gift had been found offensive.

“We do not condone anything that is detrimental to understanding. If the books are offensive, they should be removed,” Dakhil told Reuters.

Dakhil and the Foundation have worked cordially with the school board on other projects for several years.

School board officials said they would convene a committee made up of history teachers, Jewish leaders and Foundation officials to review the books.