We’ve reported previously on the initiative mounted by German Salafists to hand out 25 million German-language Korans to non-Muslims. According to this article from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the evidence points to Egyptian Salafists as the initiators and sponsors of the Koran giveaway — the same Salafists who now control the Egyptian parliament in association with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Many thanks to Hermes for the translation:
Quran Distribution — all signs point to Egypt
Who is behind the distribution of copies of the Koran? It’s not only the translation and its author that show its relationship with the rise of the Egyptian Salafists.
The excitement about the campaign called “Read!” (“Lies!”) is characterized by the fact that up until now few details were known regarding this edition of the Koran and its translator. The edition of the free Korans distributed en masse by Salafists bears the title: “The Holy Koran — Its broad meaning in German.”
An interpretation of it was already rendered by a German-Egyptian jurist from Cologne named Abu-r-Rida Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rassoul. This, as well as other editions of the Koran to be found circulating in Germany, among them a translation authorized by the government of Saudi Arabia and another from the Ahmadiyya community, serve missionary purposes. As in the already mentioned versions, Rassoul takes a restrictive approach contrary to contemporary German orientalists, which gave preference to the word “God”. Instead, he uses the term “Allah”
This has by no means simply a stylistic basis. The word “Allah” places one into Arabic, the language of the Islamic revelation. This means that non-Muslims in pursuit of the spiritual are just on fertile grounds. Rassoul’s naming of the Islamic God as the “All-Knowing”, “All-Hearing”, “All-Seeing”, or “Knower of All” may intend to bring the beginner closer to the Arabic (language): this leads to the “99 names of Allah”, which pious Muslims regularly recite. In the Arabic language, all names begin with the article “al-”, which bears phonetic resemblance with the German prefix “All-” [English: all, every]
Did the translator tame the Koran?
It’s not by chance that German translators of the Koran with scientific standards such as Rudi Paret or more recently Hartmut Bobzin avoided (translating) these terms just as Rassoul subsequently also did. In order to suggest authenticity, he leaves untranslated and merely transcribes several religious “code words” from the original into German: Jahiliya — pre-Islamic times of ignorance, Aya — verse of the Koran, and with particular appeal, the word Jahanam — Hell.
The threat of Jahanam is nowadays a preferred tactic among Salafist activists. In this sense, the distortion of the Koran is not the intention of the Islamic missionaries. Nevertheless, Rassoul sometimes gives the impression that in his translation he tries to tame the frequently militant word of the Koran. In this context, his translation of sura 9:30, which deals with the confrontation against Jews and Christians, and which Islam-critics label as a clear declaration of war, is rather noticeable. Rassoul’s version sounds like this: “Allah’s curse upon them!”, while orientalists and even the Saudi version is approximately: “May Allah fight them!”. A much sharper and more offensive variant.
A missionary supports the giving away of Korans
The only thing which is known about Rassoul is that, at least according to the first edition of his translation of the Koran, he was the imam of a mosque in Cologne. He presumably founded the IB Islamische Bibliothek publishing company there, which to this day is still active. Rassoul, whose version of the Koran enjoys great popularity in diverse circles of converts, became known in 1993 when he published a programmatic work under a more compact name: Muhammad Ahmad Rassoul.
Rassoul (Arabic for “messenger”) declaimed in that publication against the democratic form of government, prophesied its decline and fall, and propagated the initiative to build a German caliphate on German soil as a blazing example for Europe and the rest of the world. It is not known whether the author of this pamphlet had been sanctioned by the state. It is even now available at various Islamist online shops. It costs €6.50 euros through Ebay in a brand new freshly-printed copy.
The Salafist ties to Egypt can be followed not only through Rassoul the translator, but also through the Egyptian-Muslim missionaries acting in Germany. At least one of them actively supports the startling distribution of Korans. He is Reda Seyyam, a German-Egyptian living in Berlin to whom, after having engaged in holy war in Bosnia and having been in Bali shortly before the terror attacks which caused havoc in 2002, contacts to Al-Qaeda were attributed. But this has so far not been demonstrated.
Seyan, who was already in Bosnia in charge of filming jihadists, has in recent years resorted to missionary work and made himself a name in the fields of media and publishing in Arab Salafist circles. His website called “Al-Risalah” — that is, “the mission” — follows closely the distribution of Korans as does the one called “The True Religion”, which is run by Abou Nagie. Additionally, both of them live off welfare money. In the case of Seyyam, this was first documented in 2007.
The strategies of the missionary
Seyyam’s website “Al-Risalah” contains videos and reports which document the operations involving the distribution of Korans. The video clips run under the responsibility of the As-Sunna publishing company, which is also present on the internet and distributes Islamic proselytizing literature in German. One of the books has the offensive title: “Du’a: the call of God — the weapon of believers”. Seyyam, who in 2007 caused a sensation not only in Berlin by naming his son “Jihad” in spite of widespread protests, has the ability to camouflage himself. While presenting himself in Arab countries as owner of the As-Sunna publishing company, on the internet site he describes himself as a German convert with a German name.
In his appearances abroad — apart from Arabic countries, also in Spain — he is often accompanied by another Egyptian Salafist active in Germany, the Imam Hossan El-Gabry from Berlin. Last fall the Salafist duo were guests on the Arabic satellite TV channel “Al-Khalijia”, which is run by a conservative Saudi group. The Egyptian moderator asked them about the situation of the Islamic missionary movement in Germany. In an intimate atmosphere, his guests complained about the negative image of Muslims in the German media, which according to El-Gabry’s point of view is, as generally all over the West, dominated by Jews.
The strengthening of Islamists in Egypt
Seyyam was of the opinion that German non-Muslims should be approached with less scientific arguments, and that the propagation of the unified Islamic belief should enjoy preference. Determination is needed, because according to him Germans are most of the time childish, and their structure of character shows a huge level of deficit. According to Seyyam, estimates show that 41% of Germans suffer from psychological disorders.
Both Salafists agreed that the Islamic missionary work in Germany will remain a hard task. Seyyam complained that there is still a lack of adequate Islamic literature in German, this being the reason why he works with co-religionists in Egypt, because there one can find more people with experience in the propagation of missionary works in European languages. That being said, the distribution of free copies of the Koran, which started shortly after the broadcast of this TV show, can be seen as an attempt from a straightforward Salafist group to raise public awareness in German-speaking territory by breaking out of the shadows with a spectacular initiative.
One will have to reckon with similar actions in the future, because the strengthening of the Islamists in Egypt also fuels the enthusiasm of the German-Egyptian missionaries. Those who are looking for a link between these two groups will rapidly find it. The Egyptian Hossan El-Gabry is a member of the organization called the “European Institute for Islamic Affairs”, which has its headquarters in Antwerp. Their official Facebook page shows the visitor an already world-famous smiling and friendly-looking bearded man. He is the Salafist Egyptian candidate for the presidency Hazem Abu Ismail, which is willing to take part in the elections, in spite of having been recently banned from running.