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Quran Mistranslations and the Image of Islam

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Quran translations are supposed to provide "an authentic point of reference from which to examine the biased stereotypes of Islam to which Westerners are habitually exposed."

However, according to Thomas Cleary, a non-Muslim Quran translator, most of these translations have not fulfilled this function. They either fail to give a precise image of Islam, or give a
negative distorted one.

 

ReadingIslam.com presents a three-part series of articles which tackles the issue of Quran translations and their role in steering public opinion against Islam in non-Muslim communities.

 

The study starts with a historical review indicating that the libels levelled against Islam are deeply rooted in the misconceptions propagated by the first Latin Quran translations perverted on purpose out of fear that Islam would shake the established faith of Christians.

It then goes on to explain some of the ways Quran translations contribute to giving a false or negative impression about Islam through either deliberate manipulation or non-deliberate mistranslations or inadequacies. Finally, it proposes some insights as to how to take action against the campaigns discrediting Islam.


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Part 1

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Milestones in the History of Quran Translations

The first translation of the Quran was published in the 16th century. Since then, the world has seen various translators make their own attempts at translating it into various languages. But how has each historical period affected the accuracy and honesty of those translators? Have hidden agendas influenced the outcome? Click to read more.

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Part 2

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Manipulations and Inadequacies of Quran Translations

Some misconceptions about Islam arise from the mistranslation of certain words or verses. Have Quran translations played a role in deliberately giving a false or negative impression about Islam? Read about three key examples of the role inadequate Quran translations have played in shaping public opinion about Islam.

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Part 3

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Reasons for the Negative Image of Islam 

Western public opinion is generally swayed by the information propagated in the media. A true understanding of Islam is usually achieved by only those who deliberately try to learn about it. In addition to media falsifications, some schools and even family members often propagate incorrect information about Islam. Click to read more.

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