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Sunday, May 22, 2005

It's "Koran," not "Quran" or "Qur'an"

Powerline commented on this last week. Upon seeing al-Newsweek's latest installment, "The Qur'an Question," I decided to let our leading dhimmis have a piece of my mind (go to this page to leave your own feedback):
Stop calling it the Qur'an. It's the Koran. It's not Deutchland. Its Germany. It's not El Salvador', It's El Sal'vador. We are not Saudis, or Germans, or Salvadorians. We are Americans. The correct way to spell and pronounce foreign words in America is with the American spellings and pronunciations. You are succumbing to what the jihadis call "dhimmitude." Not only are you submitting to the cultural authority of foreigners, but you are doing your best to submit to Islam. ("Submission" is literal translation of "Islam.") From now on we should call you al-Newsweek.
(Al-Newsweek is one of Ace-of-Spades' many fine inventions.)

Interesting how the "multi-culturalist" left says it values diversity, yet validates foreign spellings and pronunciations as "correct." Where is their storied non-judgmentalism? Reserved for America, obviously. They cannot be called un-American, since anti-Americanism is a long American tradition on the left, but they most certainly ARE anti-American.

Want to see a truly sick example of al-Newsweek-like dhimmitude? Infoseek's Koran entry describes the Koran as: "Revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad..." It does not say: "Believed by Muslims to be revealed by God." It says "Revealed by God." What dirtbags. I don't care if they are true-believing fundamentalist Muslims. This is an encyclopedia entry, borrowed from The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed., 2005, Columbia University Press. It is supposed to state facts. The fact is that Muslims believe that the Koran is the word of God. It is NOT a fact that the Koran IS the word of God. Anyone who confuses these two is moral trash, which explains a lot about our Islamist enemy, but what explains Columbia University?

Let's see what Infoseek/Columbia says about the Bible. Ah, this is better. The first line reads:
The traditional Christian view of the Bible is that it was written under the guidance of God and that it therefore conveys truth, either literally or figuratively.
Multi-culturalists apply the requirements of moral logic to Christians (and to conservatives in general), but not to non-westerners, and not to themselves. Their great mistake is to believe that they can gain some advantage by allowing themselves the flexibility of moral irrationality. But as with any other failure to think straight, failing to think straight morally can only be detrimental to what one's own self would value. Only straight thinking addresses the real world. Error divorces cognition from reality, but only reality matters. Indulge error, and you can end up devoting all of your energies to doing evil, like the Islamists, or to accommodating evil, like the multi-culturalists.

(An earlier post on talking American--more specifically, talkin’ Texas--here.

John Steele Gordon (at Powerline) and Right Thinking both note that Qur' an is not a meaningful phonetic spelling. What is the apostrophe anyway? Is it supposed to indicate a contraction? Is it a stress mark? This isn't English.

This is moderately nonsensical. Should we have continued to use the name Peking for Beijing? The actual name of the place in Chinese wasn't changed, merely the transliteration.

Notably, the Deutschland/Germany issue isn't one of transliteration, but of a different word. I think the instances are quite distinguishable. We say the word the same either way.

Transliterating Arabic is... notoriously difficult

When the nominal experts have a hard time agreeing (or caring) about how arabic should be properly transliterated, a little leeway for those among us who don't have degrees in semtic languages might be in order.

And really, how is this different than the Yahweh/Jehovah distinction?

I agree that Newsweek is pandering to Islam, I simply disagree that this is an example of it. I don't belive that "Koran" is a meaningfully English word which can be seperated from the Arabic source.
Excellent points. I am not trying to inhibit anyone’s leeway. I think Newsweek IS pandering on this. They think they OUGHT to call it the Qur’an, and that there would be something WRONG with calling it the Koran. Doubt it if you want, but regarding American pronunciations as “wrong” when there are competing pronunciations is widespread on the left. Newsweek is 99% left, and it is really inconceivable that this isn’t a part of what is behind their choice, making for part of the reason why I want to smack them upside the head. That doesn’t mean I want to smack anyone else upside the head. Well, besides other leftists, and the Islamists, and Europe, and Latin America, and the Film Actor’s Guild.

Those who I don't want to smack upside the head, I still want to rally. Come on, America is under attack from within and without. The same principle that you are trying to stand up for as an individual--that your reasonable judgements should not be unreasonably attacked--needs to be asserted on national level as well. And how else does one counter the left's assertion that you SHOULDN'T use "Koran" except by using it? The unreasonable attacks on our usages create a reason for defending them. But it is not a duty. I guess it falls into the category of what philosophers call call "supererogation." Its good to do, but you don't have to.

Good article by Derbyshire on spellings and pronunciations. (Via Dean, who has an interesting comment thread.)
Note should also be given to the fact that it isn’t just the American left that attacks America in any way it can. It is also Europe, and Latin America, and China, and our many Islamist enemies. All are totally unreasonable, seeking any way to bring low who they consider their great rival. All the more reason to support what is attacked.

Not making gratuitous cultural concessions is especially important when we are at war with an Islamist culture that thinks the correct response to insult is murder, while devoting tremendous mental energy to finding ways to misinterpret whatever it can as insult. To pander to THAT is not generosity. It is appeasement.
No matter how you say it, the Koran is the "bible" of an Apostate religion. Islam is an albatross around the worlds neck and needs to go........
The problem isn't that Islam is an apostate religion, but that its "bible" contains grotesque immoralities (like the murder of apostates and prosletyzers and violent aggressive jihad against infidels). That means that in order to be moral, it cannot be fundamentalist, which is a fairly common condition. Judaism rejects the formal priority that Jesus gave to the spirit of the law (the law of love) over the letter of the law (the law of Sin and Death). Thus to be moral, Jews need to reject a fundamentalist (or literalist) reading of the Torah, which even the most orthodox Jews do.

Christianity is the only religion that one can embrace with fundamentalist zealotry and still be completely moral, so long as one is doing fundamentalism correctly (giving absolute priority to the Law of Love wherever it conflicts with the prescriptions of the Old Testament). NO ONE is absolved of responsibility for thinking straight morally.

The Islamists are evil because they refuse to think straight morally, and the Koran is problematic (at best) because it clearly encourages this immorality. Still, a moral Islam is not impossible. Muslims just need to go the way of the Jews and explicitly reject fundamentalism. So what if Mohammad claimed to be transcribing the literal word of God? If one accepts that he might have been wrong about that (the alternative is to accuse of God of being evil), he can still be valued for what he got right (transcribed right, if you want). The religion can still be rectified in accordance with the moral law, as Christianity rectified Judaism formally, and as Judaism rectified itself informally. Just don't hold your breath.
R is for retarded. Zealots of any religion should just go away.

Bookleggar is right, it's just a better transliteration, with the apostrophe as a guttural stop.

skippy-san -- nice one, you just shot yourself in the foot. The albatross is from The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, and was a good spirit that the captain killed and had to wear around his neck because shooting it caused his crew to be killed. In other words, the albatross is a good thing.
"Tired of this" is missing the point. The best transliteration is irrelevant. "Germany" is not an accurate translation of "Deutchland," and it doesn't try to be. If you want to transliterate precisely, you are no longer speaking English, you are speaking Arabic. Feel free to speak Arabic, but if you want to speak English, and if you want to speak correct English, say Koran.
Sure (koran ect) the important issue must be how it is pronounced. There we have a real difficulty--will Koran, Quran or Qur'an sound the same in Putney, Richmond, the land of Green Ginger, Derry or Birmingham???? I fear not.

The written word(koran ect) will depend upon your culture, vanity, depth of bile, morality and social concern.

Thank God for the left--we have to be thankful for individuals who refuse to buy into the plethora of pro neo conservative american rectitude.
You're retarded. It's spelt Qu'ran because those are the Arabic letters in the name (from the root yuqra "to read"). Your insistence to manipulate it into English is reflective of American close-mindedness and ethnocentrism. By the way, the alphabet we use was made for Latin, not English, which is why there's so many word spellings that don't make sense. According to your theory English shouldn't be written in our alphabet dumb ass
The guy is an idiot because we have different consonant sounds in English and can't precisely pronounce an Arabic word? So... we need to Englishize an Arabic word. So what? Does that change what the Koran is? I get the impression you think this is culturally insensitive.

Please enlighten us with all the instances where Arabic speakers Arabic-ify English words and get them exactly correct. Funny... when I hear an Arab speak English, his pronunciation is typically terrible, since his tongue is used to making consonant sounds of Arabic, not English. I'm sure equivalent bastardizations go on with Arabic speaking and spellings of American words.

Look in the mirror Mr. Easily-Offended. And... I'm sure Arabic pronounces and spells all other languages and cultures of the world perfectly as well... Chinese, Russian, Swahili. Give me a break fella.
This whole subject annoys me. I live in Australia. I take no offence that Germans call it Australien. I don't expect them to take offence that I call Munchen, Munich.
I am not trying to insult Italians when I call the city they call Firenze, Florence. When speaking English why do I care what the Arabic for "Koran" or the Mandarin for "Peking" is?
After having just done extensive research on Islam for a different reason than I ended up having continued it for, I can tell you what I found was initially It was Qur'an, and was only for Arabs, it was written in a ancient form of Arabic which was closer to the ancient Aramaic. After they started to allow Persians and Berbers to join their so called religion (which really is more a cult), only out of necessity from expansion and wars, and is why they still fight amongst themselves to this day the Arab originators harbored ill feelings to any others and after the Caliph's reigns (all Muhammads relatives) the break off of shia's and sunni's i.e. true Muslims vs the non, was the first time spelling it like Koran was seen.
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