Unlocking the Secrets of the Koran

Jan 08, 2003 12:18 PM EST

A controversial new book by a reknowned missionary researcher sparks debates over his claim of the Quran as "a radical cult handbook." Don Richardson assesses that while many claim Islam to be a peaceful religion, the Quran promotes violence with "war verses. "war verses...scattered throughout Mohammed's chapters like blood splatter at a crime scene."

"Secrets of the Koran," published this month by Regal Books adds to the former missionary's best selling works: "Peace Child," and "Lord of the Earth."

As a former missionary to Irian Jaya, Richardson intends for his book not as an attack on Muslims, "the vast majority [of whom] are not bad people," but on examining Muhammad's life and writings. He claims that many people do not know what the Quran really. Says.

"If a modern author submitted anything like the Koran to a publisher, it would be rejected as a radical cult handbook designed to manipulate followers and intimidate detractors with terror," he writes.

Richardson maintains that by dissecting the Quran on the basis of morality and reason "what is touted as a peace-inspiring book is shown, in reality, to be a guidebook for dictatorial world dominion at any cost".

"Just as cancers are attacked with chemo and radiation therapy, the Western world must irradiate the Koran with a bombardment of logical debate that debunks its false claims.

"This treatment will of course trigger anger that heightens to rage and results even in violence in some areas. But if the irradiation persists and is sufficiently widespread, logic and sanity will eventually win the day. By the millions, Muslims will admit the truth and be set free."

"Secrets of the Quran" has already provoked strong criticism, within the first month of it's release. "Publisher's Weekly" charged the author with "unproven hyperbole, shrill writing and a polemical tone" that "preys upon fear and perpetuates half-truths." The publication says that Richardson "resorts to degrading stereotypes about Muslims" and takes many of the "war verses" out of context.

For his research, Richardson studied eight translations of the Quran, concluding that many Muslims have not studied it closely for themselves.

"Devotees who credit a book with something as important as divine inspiration -- without really knowing its contents -- leave themselves vulnerable to imposters."

In light of criticism, Richardson says biased secular media allows Muslims to openly criticize the Bible on talk shows, "but let a Christian criticize the Koran and media hosts react in a way that would be justified if a swastika had just been painted on a synagogue door."

"Let's wage truth on Islam -- because truth is the doorway to genuine peace. Peace not founded upon truth cannot last," he said, urging Christians to befriend Muslims and challenge them to look more closely at the Quran.

A spokesman at Regal said that the decision to publish the book had been made in January 2001, "after much prayer and discussion."

He added, "We agree with Don Richardson in his belief that there has been a lack of clear, truthful information about the Koran in the media and in general -- especially since 9/11.

"This book provides a perspective that has not been given a forum in the public square -- a very important perspective, we believe."

By Pauline C.