The Council on American-Islamic Relations intends to launch a nationwide campaign to distribute copies of the Islamic Quran to 100,000 local, state and national leaders, a campaign the organization’s public relations department claims was inspired by President Obama’s speech to Muslims earlier this month.
In a statement released prior to a planned news conference next week announcing the “Share the Quran” campaign, CAIR described the scope of the outreach:
“In the multi-year initiative, American Muslims will sponsor Qurans for distribution to governors, state attorneys general, educators, law enforcement officials, state and national legislators, local elected and public officials, media professionals and other local or national leaders who shape public opinion or determine policy,” the statement said.
According to the press release from CAIR, the “Share the Quran” educational campaign “was prompted by President Obama’s recent address to Muslims worldwide in which he quoted from that holy text.”
As WND reported, during his speech “to the Muslim world” from Cairo on June 4, Obama referred to the Quran as “holy” four times and quoted several verses from the Islamic text. He also used Muslim terminology, such as the Quranic obligation of “zakat” or charity.
“As the Holy Quran tells us, ‘Be conscious of God and speak always the truth,’” Obama said. “That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.”
Obama was reading from chapter 9 verse 119 of the Quran, which scholars pointed out to WND carries two interpretations: the primary exegesis, or tafsir, which deals with speaking the truth, and a second, underlying tafsir urging Muslims to follow Muhammad in waging jihad against nonbelievers.
CAIR’s announced intention for the Quran distribution, however, seems more in line with an old English playwright’s saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
“Through this ground-breaking outreach initiative,” said Larry Shaw, CAIR’s board chairman and a Democrat state senator from North Carolina, “we hope not only to educate policy-makers and opinion leaders about Islam, but also to provide an opportunity for American Muslims to reach out to their fellow citizens of other faiths.”
The “Share the Quran” initiative, according to the CAIR statement, is part of the celebration of the council’s 15th anniversary.
CAIR was founded in 1994 and bills itself as the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.