29 November 2015

New front line against ISIS: the classroom, according to CNN

This, slightly pompous headline, graces the CNN front page on the Internet today, and here is how the article starts:

An 11-year-old at the back of the class raises his hand and proudly delivers an answer to the teacher's question: "If you murder one person, it's as if you killed all humanity."

It is a verse from the Quran, delivered in Flemish.

And for the teacher, Ibrahim's answer is exactly right.
It does sound heartwarming, peaceful, progressive... add your own adjectives here.

However, if you take a closer look at that quote, you shall see something different. Not that I am against the message it conveys, but a teacher could strive for a bit more integrity and stick to the truth. Even when the truth is somewhat ugly.

If you go to the source, you shall easily discover that the quote mentioned above is taken out of context. Here is what the authoritative source, the Quranic Arabic Corpus. has to say on the subject of verse 5:32, the source of that quote:

Sahih International: Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. ...
You can see clearly who were the subjects of this decree.

On the other hand, the adjacent verse, 5:33, sounds a bit differently:

Sahih International: Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. ...
In short, dear CNN:  you were so lazy and sloppy with your fact checking that you have succeeded to distort the words of the holy book.

And do you want to know what is the punishment for this transgression?

I guess you don't at that.

Afterword: and if you really want to know where the first quote comes from originally:
Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. — Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Yerushalmi Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a.
So there. Now you can go back to crucify the infidels.