Remember the outrageous interview with Patrick Sookhdeo in the Sunday Telegraph a few weeks ago, in which he launched an attack on The Noble Qur’an: A New Rendering of its Meaning into English – a highly-regarded translation by Abdalhaqq and Aisha Bewley? (See here and here.) Well, yesterday’s Telegraph published an apology, acknowledging that “Dr Sookhdeo’s remarks did not refer to The Noble Qur’an, A Rendering of its Meaning in English, but to a completely different translation”, together with a letter from Abdalhaqq Bewley taking the paper to task over its treatment of Islam and Muslims.
The Telegraph also publishes two other letters that it says have “been received since a website wrongly accused Dr Sookhdeo and the Sunday Telegraph of calling for a ban on the Koran”. Presumably this a reference to Islamophobia Watch. In fact our post made no reference to the Telegraph calling for a ban, but only to Sookhdeo, who was quoted as saying: “The Government has done nothing whatever to interfere with the sale of that book. Why not? Government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred, to criminalise the glorification of terrorism, yet they do nothing about this book, which blatantly does both.”
Yusuf Smith comments: “It appears that Sookhdeo was indeed referring to a different translation which had the same English title (the Noble Qur’an, as opposed to Holy Qur’an for example) though not the same sub-title (‘A New Rendering …’). Most likely this was the infamous, ear-jarring, propaganda-laden Khan-Hilali translation…. The problem is that Sookhdeo clearly referred to the subtitle of the translation, which has very little commentary (unlike Khan & Hilali), which does give the impression that it was the content of the Qur’an which Sookhdeo was suggesting was the issue, not commentary alongside the text. So people were justified in fearing that the Qur’an itself was under attack and not one person’s writings.”