Talk:Arab–Israeli conflict/Archive 1
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Israel was defeated in the Yom Kippur War? Oh yeah just like the Soviets were defeated in WW2. Oh you know they were aided a bit by the US so I guess according to the Arabs, Germany was the total victor of WWII. (Alexbmn)
Hi, I wrote most of this page. Obviously, it represent the Israeli view on the things, so it is biased (to an extent). If you want to, add your opinion as well, but please don't modify the opinions of the Israeli side as they're presented in the article. --Uriyan
- (Cutting in)(2002-09-30) -- Im afraid I agree with Zork, below. Furthermore, as we intelligent people must ask in all bipolar issues, is whether or not it is valid for any conflict to be couched in black point of view vs, white point of view... this is the adversarial system that we see everywhere, and its consequences are the antithesis of a search for truth and a documentation of history.
- Therefore, an objective (Irish) point of view should and must come before either of the biased points of view, though clearly both sides have things they wish would never be reprinted. It all ought be stated here.
- The only legitimate argument against this is whether issues are fact or fiction, as these are not easily determined, due to our already pro-Israeli-biased media sources. --User:Stevertigo
- P.S. I detect in most US and western media - a Jewish bias. For example, headlines on Yahoo, (which come from AP) will more often than not couch Israeli violence as retaliatory for something the Palestinians did. Its never stated as instigatory, while on the other hand no Palestinian violence is ever framed as retaliatory (how could landless two-legged beasts possibly be retaliating!)
- The Palestinian cause is almost always denegrated in western media, largely because of the Jewish presence in this country and the fact that only a few of them are courageous enough to regognise their own biases as being a major problem.
- Other americans may or may not be conscious of it, but its a bias that has resulted directly from Israels policies to denegrate Palestinians, and its cozying up to the US as often as it can.
As Noam Chomsky (a brave Jew) reports, (paraphrasing)...Israel funded radical Islamic groups in Palestine in order to delegitimise the moderate point of view in Palestine, which were far more likely to organise international support against Israel, and were therefore far more dangerous. They saw radical fundamentalists as laughable, despite the harshness of the rehtoric. This of course was before these radicals would take upon themselves a persona similar to the Jewish Stern Gang years before, and commit harsh acts of violence, this time against Israelis...
- Clearly Israelis learned some things from the Nazis as far as subjugating a population.
- From a non-Arab, non-Jewish point of view, based on this simple fact, one could conclude that Palestinian violence against Israelis, being once directly supported by past Israeli policies, and all the carnage that has come of it, rest sqaurely as the responsibility of the Israelis, and the passage from the Torah "you reap what you sow" seems extremely relevant.
- Furthermore, it seems as if the "Palestinian views" section contains a great deal of pollutions, namely the type of thing that rings as Israeli propaganda.
"Many Arab schools and universities teach that Jews never lived in the land of Israel,"
- Without attempting to ascertain the veracity of this, there is no doubt that this is not written by a Palestinian POV and like Uriyan, the original writer admits (quite honestly) that it is certainly a biased POV.
- I might add though, that for a people with such a rich history of intellectual innovation, when It comes to this issue, there is no doubt an inability to be partial, civil or consistent. No doubt this is proof that Jews (and Arabs, are everyone else) are not particularly special nor different, just human.
I'm afraid you can't reserve an article like "arab-israeli conflict" for your own opinions just because you "claimed" it first. The article is pretty biased, and it will have to be heavily modified. If you want to retain your viewpoints, they have to be separated out from the rest of the article and presented as Israeli biased viewpoints - to go along side Arab biased viewpoints. This is important. I hope you understand. --Zork.
The most recent list of Arab rationales for the conflict is, in practice, used as incitement to violence. Since it always has the effects of hatespeech, it is difficult to describe it in any other way. However, notice that I did not delete any of it, because it really does repesent a mainstream Arab point of view. We just should make aware that no act of violence by any terrorist group would ever have happened against Jews if not for such violently hateful teachings. In contrast, no such teachings are made by mainstream Israeli authorities towards Arabs. The incitement is a one-way street. RK
This article needs major work. It is completely biased towards an Israeli point of view and has blatently wrong information. Even though the "Opinion" part of the article has a qualifier, the article does still state that "Islamic law allows Muslims to go to war against any Jew or Christian who refuses to accept this status[as second class citizens]." This may be the actual view of Islaeli's, but this is wholeheartedly incorrect and wrong.
- Sory, but your claim is wrong. This is NOT the view of Israeli's. This is the Muslim view, it has been taught by Muslim scholars for the past 1300 years, it is based on the Qur'an. It isn't an "opinion". This traditional Muslim belief indisputably exists. The entry only claims that it is the opinion of Israelis that this traditional Muslim belief is one of the major causes for the current Arab-Israeli dispute, while others hold that other reasons arethe major causes.
Sharia (Islamic Law) states that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God (the god of Abraham) and all these people should be treated with respect and dignity. Jews and Christians are therefore given special protections that are not granted to outright pagans (since both Christians and Jews worship the same God as Muslims -- albeit with some major differences). However, Sharia does provide for a special tax on Christians and Jews that is not levied on Muslims (which acts as an incentive to convert). Nowhere, in my knowledge, does Sharia state that war can be brought on Jews and Christians just because they do not accept this tax.
- I beg to differ. All Muslim sources from the Qur'an onward state that both Chrisitians and Jews may never be considered as equals to Muslims; rather, they are designated as second or third-class citizens, called "dhmimms". This doesn't merely mean "protected"; it is second-class citizenship, and that only at the best of times. Sharia (Islamic law) has always stated that Muslims may go to war against and kill Christians and Jews in Arab lands who reject this status. The Sharia considers it unaceptable for Jews or Christians to be equals in what they Muslims see as Muslim lands. If you disagree, please cite some sources. I would truly be interested in reading them. Its just that I have not yet seen anything from Muslims that would teach differently. RK
- Hmm, Id like to see RK quote some Qur'an in this, instead of paraphrasing what sounds like third-hand propaganda. Sharia law, kind of like Torah law, as I understand it is not a very common thing, thank goodness.
- Regardless, the texts of all three Judaic-based religions contain abominable material, which we can explain as being primitive, after all, they were written long, long ago, before Wiki pages and the degree of discourse we have today. So to all readers, let all religious terms and points of view come long after the secular, objective, passages. Religious terms combine to create isolated metaphoric languages that are useless in a universalist sense. (Universalist??)
- Here is a theory: the term 'good Jew' was at one time equivalent to our saying 'a good human being.' How word meanings change. -User:Stevertigo
- Are you sure that you are describing modern day Islam, and historical Islam? Or, as it seems to me, are you actually describing the view of a handful of Muslim friends? I have never heard (yet) of any Islamic schools or islamic governments that teach the pluralistic and tolerant view that you do. I wouldn't be surprised if a handful of such schools existed around the world, but if so, they are clearly in the minority. If we dofin such sources from Muslims, we should look into howthey deal with the quotes in the Qur'an and Sharia which teach otherwise. RK
- This is laughable, RK is making the 'spiraling specialised' argument, where he is thwarted in his direct attack, but continues to specialise his critique to more and more narrow views, all of which are based in nothing: his perceptions as an outsider, which he states as fact, though he could simply take the high road and qualify his statements as uninformed. Clearly there is a spectrum of opinions, and the severity of them is also varied, but this is human, and no different than the obscene opinions (many) Zionists hold against Palestinians, though this does not justify either.
Opinions like those presented in the article really do not have a place in an encylopedia (which is supposed to have a neutral and unbiased voice). See discussion at this page. about editorializing. maveric149 (a caucasian American and not an Arab, BTW)
Moved from Larry Sanger:
Larry, I need help. The article on Arab-Israeli conflict needs a great deal of work. It is biased in the extreme favoring Israel and I am tempted to delete 2/3 of the article (the part that lists the "opinions" of both sides in a very non-neutral point of view). I know the primary author of this article is a major contributor to wikipedia, so I do not want to step on any toes. maveric149
- Instead of deleting most of the entry, please come to the entry's "Talk" section, and outline which specific points you believe are not correct, or are not NPOV, and offer specific alternatives. In the past I have had a hard time dealing with people, when instead of altering a section, they would delete it outright. Ironically, in the end, after discussion involving other Wikipedians, much of what they wanted to delete made it back in! Wikipedia won't grow that way. So we need to bypass this and get straight to constructive work. RK
- Please let me speak for myself, RK! --LMS
It looks to me like the article was constructed by several different people. We should certainly try to fairly represent the Israeli view(s) but the Arabs' view fairly as well. Anyone who denies that can leave the project, as far as I'm concerned. Of course, I doubt anybody working on this article actually denies that!
RK, I would defend the practice of moving text that really needs work (due to its bias) to the /Talk page, if there must be a long, involved debate about it. Let me take a look at the text and perhaps make a few edits... --LMS
Sharia is based upon the al-Qur'an. Here are some relevent and interesting parts of Sharia that are based on the al-Qur'an (Quarnic passages are in parenthesis): Islam commands Muslims to struggle against injustice and encourages them to forgive those who have committed injustices against them. (2:109, 3:159, 5:85; 7:56,74 & 157).
Islam lays great emphasis on justice and how mankind should execute justice toward individuals, groups, communities, and humanity at large, so that they can live together in peace. It advocates equality and justice, to improve the dignity of all human beings, and to bring peace through justice. [http://www.submission.org/suras/sura3.html 3:58
So it is incorrect to lable "Islamic Law" as advocating the making war on Jews and Christians. Quite the opposite is true (unless a group is being an aggressor and tyrant). maveric149
- Maveric, none of this is what I am referring to. I am talking about the vast array of other parts of Sharia (Islamic law) that argue against Jews; quotes that you have not dealt with. Islam is not based upon the 40 or so quotes that Westeners find in accord with liberal 20th/21st century values; Islam is a 1300 year-old faith that includes the Qur'an and the Sharia, as it has been interpreted and practiced by Muslims for 1300 years. Have you read the new entry on the Dhimmi yet? It is just a start, but it already gives many facts that your above quotes leave out. There is so much more to Islam that you don't seem aware of yet. Muslims may agree with these other parts of it; you may disagree, but they exist as mainsream views nonetheless. RK
Maveric, you are arguing against a position that I did not hold. I never said that Islamic Law advocates making war on Jews and Christians." Rather, I said something different: That Islamic law allows making war on Jews and Christians living in Muslim lands who do not accept the status of a dhimmi. That is a different proposition! Further, it is true. Its the traditional Muslim belief, and is still taught today. RK
The article now says:
- The entire idea of Zionism (the creation of a majority Jewish state) is seen by many Arabs as racist. They argue that this is no less racist than an intention to create a majority white, black, or Georgian state. Some Israelis reply that this is inconsistent, since Arabs teach that Arabs may create majority Arab states (almost twenty such states now exist).
After this I found the following cryptic comment; I don't see what it has to do with the foregoing, to which it is either supposed to be a clarification or reply. Can someone please explain?
- This view redefines Judaism as a religion, rather than as an evolving religious ethnic group. Jews themselves do not considers themselves a religion; they teach that one can actually be an atheist and still a Jew.
- Some people, including many Arabs, consider Zionism racism, as it favors what they call "the Jewish race", and discriminate against other races. If Zionists really were mostly (or all) racists, then there would be good reason to be against the State of Israel. However, many people find this charge wrong-headed because there is no Jewish race. Jews in Israel are almost 2/3 of various white European background, almost 1/3 Hispanic background, there are over 20,000 black African Jews in Israel(and more coming), and a smaller number of Jews from Arab, Chinese, Vietnamese and other racial backgrounds. Jews are from all races, just like Democrats and Republicans. (Ok, maybe just like Democrats...) People may be able to make a claim that Zionism is religious discrimination, but that's a different thing altogether. When I see someone shoplifting, I don't accuse of them speeding or of cheating on their taxes, I accuse them of shoplifting. So if people see religious discrimination, it makes no sense for them to claim that this is homophobia, or racism, or anything-else-ism. Its not that Jews merely dispute the charge; many claim that it is incomprehensible and false on its face, and therefore it may be a pre-text for anti-Zionism, which is often related to anti-Semitism. RK
I found this paragraph in the article; I edited it to read as follows but still can't see the point:
- Some Arabs (how many? Who?) maintain that Hitler's crimes against the Jews were exaggerated, and may not have happened at all. Even if some Jews did die in a so-called Holocaust, they say, these actions cannot justify Jewish crimes against the Palestinian people. In fact, they say, there is little proof that a full-scale Holocaust against Jews took place, but the Jews are attempting to commit genocide on the entire Palestinian people.
This seems to intimate an argument on the part of Arabs to the effect that the Jews are committing massive hypocrisy. Not only do Israelis perpetrate "genocide" on the entire Palestinian people when they complain of their own WWII genocide, the Jewish genocide of WWII didn't even happen (according to this alleged Arab argument). I'm not sure what the argument here is supposed to be. Is it just that the Israelis are being hypocrites? What kind of argument is that supposed to be? Even if Arabs say that, it seems hard to believe that they would wish to portray this as an argument. --LMS
Magnificent work Larry! You were able to quickly take out most of the bias in the "Islaeli View" section AND make it enjoyable to read. Thank you so very much! (I REALLY didn't want to delete such an amount of information due to bias) maveric149
Oh and, RK. Please do not misunderstand me, I was not arguing against your position in particular. I just stated some parts of Sharia that are based on the al-Qur'an -- as a case in point to be used in the discussion. However, my knowledge of Islamic Law only comes from several classes I took in college, so I am the first to admit my lack of knowledge on Islam (as I am neither a Muslim or even a well informed Jewish person like yourself). However, I do have at least a foundation of knowledge on the subject combined with an emotionally unattached interest in the subject.So even though you obviously know a great deal more than me on this subject, lets not loose our objectiveness here. Also, please show me what part of the al-Qur'an/Sharia supports the strongness (i.e. "making war") of your arguments (I am very interested in this, as my Shi'a instructor may have left out some important facts). maveric149
- Look maveric, maybe I'm wrong. I am still revising what I wrote in the dhimmi article. It may well be unbalanced, and I already am looking to improve it. Your own quotes and references have helped, and you can and should add in material. I just really am used to seeing certain points of view represented as mainstream Islam, and I want to see some sources for other Islamic points of view. I know that they exist; I have three such moderate, if not liberal, Islamic works myself. However, two of those authors have received death threats for their books. They seem to be better received in the West and in the Arab intelligenica than among the masses.RK
I understand (or at least can vaguely imagine) where you are coming from. Perhaps it is the RIGID interpretation of Islamic Law in some current nations, and not Islamic Law in the larger and more inclusive sense, that is acting as an influence here. Maybe, some distinction between the two should be included somewhere.I will re-read several related articles and see what I can do (wont be for a couple of hours though, I have company coming over). BTW, the dhimmi article seems to be coming along nicely (few minor things I need to look at later, though) maveric149
- Like Jewish law and Christian canon law, Islamic law has no one, set meaning for all time and places. In the hands of moderates, religious law can be moderate, even liberal. In the hands of post-Englightenment readers of philosophy, religious law is relegated to ritual (as opposed to law in a civil sense), or even to just being history. In the hands of zealots, it becomes legally enforced against all people of a faith, and even against all people that come under their control. Islamic law to American Muslims in Boston is a very different thing than Islamic law to religious Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Gaza, or Pakistan. Both are following Islamic law, yet it varies as much as individual Muslims vary. (As is true for Jews and Christians, etc.) I think that this will have to enter somehow into the main entry, on a number of religion oriented articles.RK
Basically, in revising the article, I did just a few things. I removed the bullets, which are stylistically much inferior to coherent paragraphs that are arranged into an argumentative narrative. In removing the bullets I spotted similar points, which I combined together in paragraphs. I added lots and lots of "Arabs (should it be 'arabs'?) believe" and "many Israelis believe" etc. I have no idea whether any of the resulting claims are true, though most of them sound plausible enough. I also don't really know if the resulting claims and the overall narrative is neutral, or neutral enough. To know that, I'd have to know more about the subject. But at least now it sure looks more neutral, and we don't have Wikipedia making dozens of what looked like strongly biased claims.
Y'know, though, the original article didn't seem that egregiously biased to me in the first place. I thought we had done a reasonably good job with it, generally speaking. --LMS
- In retrospect, I have to say you're right (generally speaking). It was the method of presentation and the lack of rigorous qualification that screemed out to me as being biased. maveric149
Thank you all for continuing the article which I originally started as a pathetic stub for a particularly painful topic. It looks much better now (1/7/02). Its best feature is its division into the Israeli and Arab perspectives on the conflict. Each perspective shows not only
- its own viewpoint, but also
- how it sees the other side's viewpoint
Thus we are presenting 4 sides:
- The Israeli side
- The Arab side
- How the Israelis interpret the Arab side
- How the Arabs interpret the Israeli side
For example, "Arabs say they just want to stop racism, but Israelis think the Arabs want to destroy Israel totally." Or, "Israel just wants to exist in peace, but Arabs think Israelis are creating a racist society worse than Hitler."
It's hard for me to contribute to the article itself, because I am (A) pro-Israel and Jewish; although I am also (B) against oppression, genocide and racism (not to mention "terrorism"); moreover, I feel the solution to the conflict must be a religious one.
The article states "Moreover, the Palestinian Authority along with many other Arab governments and universities teach that Jews never did live in Israel, and that all archaeological proof to the contrary is part of an international western anti-Arab conspiracy. On this view, no Jews ever lived in Israel, and the Bible's claims are (deliberate) fictions, and the ancient Jews actually came from near Yemen. This is a mainstream Arab view, taught in Arab schools across the Middle East including by many in the Palestinian Authority.
Request: OK, let's have some evidence for these claim that this is a mainstream Arab view.
- "Jerusalem is not a Jewish city, despite the biblical myth implanted in some minds...There is no tangible evidence of Jewish existence from the so-called 'Temple Mount Era'...The location of the Temple Mount is in question...it might be in Jericho or somewhere else." (Walid M. Awad, Director of Foreign Publications for the PLO's Palestine Ministry of Information, interviewed by the IMRA news agency, Dec.25, 1996.)
- A Palestinian tv show broadcast on PLO Television in June 1997 featured Palestinian Arab historian Jarid al-Kidwa. He claimed that "all the events surrounding Kings Saul, David and Rehoboam occurred in Yemen, and no Hebrew remnants were found in Israel, for a very simple reason--because they were never here." Al-Kidwa said: "Most of the Khazars [a Turkish tribe that converted to Judaism in medieval times] are the Ashkenazic Jews who arrived in Palestine. As Allah is my witness, in my blood flows more of the Children of Israel and the ancient Hebrews than in the blood of Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu."
- According to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz (July 6, 1997), al- Kidwa also said: "The stories of the Torah and the Bible did not take place in the Land of Israel--they occurred in the Arabian peninsula, primarily in Yemen. The identity of our father Ibrahim [Abraham] who is mentioned in the Koran is clear. From the Koran's description of him it arises that he lived in the southern Hejaz [Saudi arabia], near Mecca."
- Numerous Palestinian Authority textbooks for their children teach them that Jews and Chrisitans lie about being connected to the land of Israel. Here is one such example: "The Zionists turn[ed] their attention towards Palestine as the national homeland of the Jews, while relying on false historical and religious claims." From Modern Arab History and Contemporary Problems, Part Two, for Tenth Grade p. 50
- When Palestinian Authority school books discuss sites of religious interest, Muslim as well as Christian sites are included but not Jewish. Even the Jews' connection to the remnant of their holiest site, the Western Wall of the Temple, is denied: "The Jews claim that this is one of the places belonging to them and call it "The Western Wall", but this is not so." From Reader and Literary Texts for Eighth Grade #578 p. 103. Their textbooks also claim that Jews have nothing to do with the Temple in Jerusalem: "Jerusalem: I have many Islamic holy places and antiquities. This is al-Aqsa Mosque and this is the Dome of the Rock...To the west of the holy mosque you can see a vast stone wall called 'al-Buraq Wall', [Western Wall of the Temple] to which the angel Gabriel, peace be upon him, tied the beast of the Prophet Muhammad on the night of his journey [to heaven]... As for my Christian holy places - the most famous of them are 'The Church of al-Qiama' [Holy Sepulchre-ed], next to the mosque of 'Umar ibn al Khatab, and the church of 'al-Juthmana' opposite al-Isbat Gate, outside the wall. From Palestinian National Education for Third Grade #529 P. 14.
- The Palestine Ministry of Information issued, on Dec. 10, 1997, the follow statement. They claimed that a century's worth of archaeological excavations in the Old City of [[Jeruslaem" have found "Umayyad Islamic palaces, Roman runis, Armenian ruins and others, but nothing Jewish." The Ministry then claimed that "there is no tangible evidence of any Jewish traces / rremains in the old city of Jeruslaem and its immediate vicinity."
- And there is a lot more where these quotes come from. These anti-Semitic, in fact ludricrous, claims are taught widely in Syria and Saudia Arabia as well. I can get more info on this if anyone wishes. RK
RK, you gave excellent documentation in support that this may the predominant view with the the PLO and with Palestinians in general (perhaps even the "mainstream" ones....). However, do you think that their views might naturally be slanted towards such statements? The PLO arrose out of a self-proclaimed "liberation" movement to 'restore' the State of Palestine. Such sources are obviously biased and I have NO doubt what-so-ever that similar views are taught in many madrasas and even general public shcools under the control of the PA. It is propoganda and I would be hesitant to include Palestinians in any discussion about "mainstream" Arabs. I would also be hestitant to label mainstream "Arabs" as expressing these views without some qualification AND substantiation. Otherwise, the statement "this is a mainstream Arab view", is just Israli (instead of Palestinian) propoganda. And some "mainstream" Arabs might view it as being inflammatory. maveric149
- That's something to consider. I am not aware of any significant disagreement among non-Palestinian Arabs with this claim. In general, many other Arabs may disagree with various parts of PLO propaganda, but gew reject the PLO outright because of it. Other Arabs don't disagree when various PLO officials deny that the Holocaust existed, or that there is a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world as outlined in the infamous hoax, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion". Interestingly, the Israeli government hasn't taken this stuff public, and is not using it for propaganda purposes. If I were them, I'd blanket the Conservative Christian community in America with this information, as it essentially calls everything the Christians believe in just a bunch of lies. The fact that the Israeli's don't do so is more a testament to their general lack of ability to do effective PR. I have seen a small number of Arab-American sources, from non-Palestinian Arabs, that agree with this particular topic; i.e. that Jews never lived in the Biblical land of Israel. This is also a view held by some in Saudi Arabi and some other Gulf states. Do mostArabs believe this? No, I doubt it. My tentative reading of the situation is that a significant minority of Arabs, large enough to be worth mentioning, does believe this, that's all. While I have just added one more Palestinian source, I will be getting some more sources from people in other Arab nations. Not that this is a big deal in the entry over-all; LMS simply made a reasonable request to back what seemed like an irrational and bizarre claim. Who would ever have believed that this would be a position that some people have? RK
Here are some sources used by some non-Palestinian Arabs to "prove" that the ancient Israelites never lived in Israel, and that they were really from Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula. One Arab website below states that the original Jews are all extinct!
Kamal Salibi is a Lebanese Christian Arab, and historian of Lebanon, and is the author of the following book (all of which have been laughed at by all mainstream historians in the non-Arab world for their absolute ignorance. Some reviews are available for reading at the above website, and they are scathing.)
- Salibi, Kamal, The Bible Came from Arabia, London, Jonathan Cape, Ltd., 1985.
- Salibi, Kamal, Secrets of the Bible People, Brooklyn, N.Y., Interlink Books, 1988.
- Salibi, Kamal, The Historicity of Biblical Israel, London, NABU Publications, 1998.
A Muslim website which accept Salibi's claims, The Islamic Comparative Analysis Site. http://www.jamaat.net/index.htm
AL-AHRAM weekly, an Egyptian publication, also accepts this view http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/1998/383/pal1.htm
Here are some critical reviews of Kamal Salibi's bizarre historical revisionism:
- Beeston, A.F.L., Review of Salibi's The Bible Came from Arabia, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1988, pp. 389-93)
- Cardinal, P., "La Bible et L'Arabie", Revue des Etudes Palestiniennes 26 (1986, pp. 63-70)
- Dahlberg, Bruce. "Comments" in the Ancient Near East Digest, 1994.
Please, this page has "the al-Qur'an" three times! "al" is arabic for "the", "the the Qur'an"? You do not *have* to insult the Arabic language (xor the English language) to state your opinion.
I know, I just increased the "the al-Qur'an" count by two - note the occurance in *this* sentence as well! :-)
- It was my understanding that the word "al" (meaning of course roughly the) was a respectful way to refer to things in Arabic -- was this understanding in error? The literal translation and the "the the" issue is interesting but not very important to the article. The word for the Islamic holy book has changed from Koran, to Quran, Qur'an and now to al-Quran and al-Qur'an. What is important is what the most common useage by current English speakers is. --12.246.119.xxx, Wednesday, April 10, 2002