While discussing the history of the Koran in Europe during a televised interview on the Arabic-language program, “Allah Knows,” Dr. Ali Gom‘a, one of Egypt’s foremost clerics, said that early European translations of the Koran were rooted in Christian desires to learn more about Islam and its language, Arabic. But then he made the following assertion:
The [European/Catholic] Church at that time was preoccupied with trying to distort the Noble Koran, for instance when Pope Urban II ordered a warped translation of the Noble Koran [to be made] into Latin so that Islam would not spread to Europe; and many knights of the crusades were returning to Europe as Muslims. All these matters frightened and caused the papacy to try to suppress the spread of Islam on the [European] continent since the sixteenth century.
Such claims must surely raise eyebrows, at least among those knowledgeable of true history. There is no evidence of “many knights” —one cannot even think of a single one—returning to Europe as Muslim converts.
As for the claim that Medieval Christians intentionally tried to disseminate distorted translations of the Koran in order to dissuade their coreligionists from converting to Islam, the only truth here is that Christians were indeed antagonistic to Islam—reciprocally so. However, and quite to the contrary, their way of opposing Muhammad’s creed was to translate the Koran with great and meticulous care—for they were convinced that nothing quite so discredited Islam as the Koran itself, which, as theologians like Thomas Aquinas argued, so obviously did not reflect the will of God.
Thus like his well-credentialed colleague, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb—who claims that until Israel came along in 1948 and manipulated them into killing each other, Muslims had lived in harmony for centuries—Dr. Ali Gom‘a is more proof that it is not merely “crazy” or “fringe” clerics who have an utterly paranoid and a historical sense of reality, but rather the most decorated and mainstream ones.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim