An organization in Germany has launched an unprecedented nationwide campaign to distribute 25 million copies of the Qur'an, translated into the German language, with the goal of placing one Qur'an into every household in Germany, free of charge.
The mass proselytization campaign -- called Project "Read!" -- is being organized by dozens of groups located in cities and towns throughout Germany, as well as in Austria and in Switzerland.
The campaign is being spearheaded by a Rheinland-based Ibrahim Abou-Nagie, a Palestinian, who leads a group called "The True Religion" ("Die Wahre Religion"). He is regarded as provocative by many in Germany. He has been accused of preaching violence, and has been the subject of an investigation in September 2011 by the German public prosecutors office.
However, the edition of the Qur'an that is being distributed, according to BfV, the German domestic intelligence agency, is "rather non-controversial". The translation is by Mohammed Ibn Ahmad Rassoul with comments from the German convert Frank von Bubenheim and has been rated by intelligence agencies as "not problematic".
Nevertheless, a leader of Germany's ruling party criticised the program as a threat to religious peace.
"There is little in principle against the distribution of religious works," Guenter Krings, vice chairman of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, told the Rheinische Post newspaper, but added that this depended on the distributor.
"The radical Salafist group is disturbing the religious peace in our country with their aggressive approach," he said. "Wherever possible this aggressive campaign must be stopped," he told the newspaper, saying the plans were obviously intended for the copies to end up in German schools.
The campaign is now well under way, with more than 100 "information booths" set up in dozens of German cities, particularly in the regions of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Hessen and Hamburg.
The approach is simple: German Muslims are encouraged to purchase a copy of the Qur'an (red cover) in order to fund the free distribution of additional copies of the Koran (blue cover). In addition to the public distribution of the Qur'an on the streets and market places, non-Muslims can order a free copy of the Koran on an Internet website called hausdesqurans.de.
"If every Muslim does that then within a year we will have supplied every person in Germany with a Koran translation and they will not label us as terrorists or radicals or anything else, when they read Allah's book," Abou-Nagie said.
Abu Nagie said the first 20,000 copies were financed by two Turkish people, and that he had rejected financial support from organisations in Bahrain as they wanted to "write their names in the book".
According to Abou-Nagie, more than 300,000 German translations of the Qur'an have already been distributed, and a fifth print run consisting of tens of thousands of additional copies has already been ordered from the printing plant, which is located in Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg.
Soeren Kern, "Germany: A Koran in Every Household" Gatestone Institute April 11, 2012
"'A Koran in every home' project makes waves" The Local April 11, 2012
"Handing out copies of the Koran disturbs the religious peace,' said German politician" Reuters April 11, 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today