Far right and anti-Islamic groups across Europe often demonise the Quran as being a violent holy book, but how does it compare with the Bible or Torah?
Well according to Dr Ed Kessler, the founding director of the Woolf Institute of interfaith relations, the Quran is no more violent than any other religion’s holy text, the Independent reports.
Instead the doctor explained that it’s not the text itself that generates violence it’s how the text’s interpreted, adding that there’s plenty of grisly Jewish and Christian scripture you can read.
There are [as many] violent extracts in the Quran as there are in the Old Testament and New Testament… It’s not the texts themselves that are the problem, it’s how you read them and interpret them.
Dr Kessler, who was made an MBE in 2011 for services to interfaith relations, cited Psalm 137, which appears both in the Old Testament and Tanakh.
The infamous verse tells the story of Jewish people living in exile after the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and ends with a violent revenge fantasy, telling the conquerors: “Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.”
Gory excerpts like this can be found throughout the Bible and Quran, and in one previous count of the total ‘cruel or violent passages’ in both holy books the Bible (842) smashed the Quran (333) having more than double the amount of gruesome action.
Dr Kessler explained that all three of the Abrahamic religions share similar stories and must be read ‘through the lens of modern interpretation.’
The problem is that Isis, and other ultra conservative Muslim groups, is that they claim to teach the ‘true Islam’ based on a literal reading of the Quran and religious teachings, while the Bible has undergone at least a century of critical study which has largely dismissed or reinterpreted passages urging stoning, infanticide, massacres and burning.
The Cambridge fellow said that many British Muslim groups were seeking to tackle fundamentalist interpretations of the Quran and highlighted the diversity of thought within the many denominations of Islam.
Ironically Islamaphobic groups use the bible to justify their aims, just like the fundamentalists they claim to oppose, like Britain First who frequently use Crusade-inspired imagery while claiming to fight the supposed ‘Islamification’ of Europe.