Group Delivers Qurans to Teach

February 13, 2009

Author: Gregg Krupa

Source: The Detroit News

It has been an item of curiosity in recent weeks: Qurans delivered door-to-door, mostly in neighborhoods in which a majority of residents are Muslim. Are Muslims adopting the front-porch marketing tactics of Jehovah's Witnesses?

Well, maybe just a little.

The Illinois-based Book of Signs Foundation has distributed about 12,000 translations of the Quran door-to-door in recent months and will continue the efforts in the coming weeks, said one of its founders, Wajahat Sayeed. The intent, Sayeed said, is to familiarize non-Muslims with Islam.

And while the foundation may have slightly missed its target market, he said it is important, too, for Muslims to know about the initiative.

"We hope that this is a very passive way of bridging the gap of understanding," Sayeed said. "So, if you do not understand things about Islam and the actions of some people who have hijacked the faith, why don't you read the Quran to find out about the faith and to understand the Muslims are really no different from anyone else?"

Reactions have varied. Some Muslims who received the Qurans were immediately concerned that they might not be handled with the proper care that Muslims afford their holy book, or that the translation might not be accepted by Muslim scholars.

Qurans are in Arabic, and those in English are considered translations of the Quran.

"I find it a bit disturbing," said Suehaila Amen, an educator and activist. "It's an honorable intention to distribute a properly translated version of the Quran, but why deliver it to so many Muslim homes?"

Sayeed said that the foundation may have miscalculated its delivery in Metro Detroit, which is part of a national effort that has resulted in 170,000 Qurans delivered door-to-door in Chicago, Houston and Metro Detroit.

"We hope that perhaps Muslims will pass them on to non-Muslims," he said.

The translated Qurans are delivered with contact information for the Book of Signs Foundation, and Sayeed said the reactions from non-Muslims vary.

See also: Islam, Civic