Austria’s foreign minister has proposed an idea he believes will discourage Muslims from joining the Islamic State group: create a single, standardized translation of the Koran to discourage misinterpretation of the Muslim holy book.
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Saturday that the move will prevent extremists from misusing the Koran, the German news agency DPA reported, suggesting bad translations are behind radicalism.
"There are countless translations, countless interpretations," Kurz said. "On the other hand it is also in the interest of the community of faith that not many words are incorrectly interpreted and reproduced."
Kurz said legislation to create an official translation from Arabic was necessary for two reasons. One, to educate Austrians about the content of the Koran and, two, to stop terrorists and those who support them from acting on incorrect interpretations.
"We will be pushing for this vigorously," Kurz told Austria’s Oe1 radio, adding that the initiative would be part of an update to Austria’s Islam Law which in 1912 officially recognized Islam as a religion.
The standardized translation would be chosen by Muslim leaders in Austria, Kurz said.
Israel’s i24 News reported Sunday:
Kurz claims that this step is designed to counteract interference from abroad, as Imams are to be trained exclusively at Austrian universities. The revamped law will also determine how Islamic initiatives are funded from abroad, will ensure that Islamic traditions are followed concerning holidays and funerals, and enable Imams to provide spiritual guidance in prisons, hospitals and in the army.
The foreign minister noted that 140 Austrian Muslims have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join jihadist groups.
His idea may not be so easy to implement.
Carla Amina Baghajati, spokeswoman for Austria’s Islamic Community said finding a single, agreed-upon translation will prove challenging due to the multiple meanings of various Arabic words, DPA reported.