We’ve written before about “Robinson” and “McLoughlin’s” book Mohammed’s Koran: Why Muslims Kill for Islam, so this will be a very brief post. I was thinking about what they’d done, which is essentially to rewrite their own version of the Koran, supposedly in chronological order. They say that read this way the book inspires people to kill. There is a very important point they seem to have missed though, namely that the book isn’t structured that way, nor meant to be read that way.
A hypothetical situation came into my head this morning, so try and picture it:
You get a call from a friend, they are distressed and emotional. They’re driving at high speed, and they tell you they are having suicidal thoughts. They’re approaching a bridge, and tell you they are thinking of crashing into it.
You say “Stop! Please! I don’t want you to die!”.
Where is this rather morbid scene leading? Well, the thing is this. The phrase above can be rewritten, no words added or removed, just arranged in a different order. The difference in meaning is quite remarkable however.
“Please don’t stop, I want you to die.”.
The point I’m making is that you can take almost any text and rearrange it, and in doing so you can completely transform the message to say whatever you want.