Text analysis answers: Is the Quran really more violent than the Bible?

Tom H. C. Anderson
January 20th, 2016

Text Analytics Tips: Is the Quran really more violent than the Bible? by Tom H. C. Anderson

Part I: The Project

With the proliferation of terrorism connected to Islamic fundamentalism in the late-20th and early 21st centuries, the question of whether or not there is something inherently violent about Islam has become the subject of intense and widespread debate.

Even before 9/11—notably with the publication of Samuel P Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations in 1996—pundits have argued that Islam incites followers to violence on a level that sets it apart from the world’s other major religions.

The November 2015 Paris attacks and the politicking of a U.S. presidential election year—particularly candidate Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim’s entering the country and President Obama’s response in the State of the Union address last week—have reanimated the dispute in the mainstream media, and proponents and detractors, alike, have marshalled “experts” to validate their positions.

To understand a religion, it’s only logical to begin by examining its literature. And indeed, extensive studies in a variety of academic disciplines are routinely conducted to scrutinize and compare the texts of the world’s great religions.

We thought it would be interesting to bring to bear the sophisticated data mining technology available today through natural language processing and unstructured text analytics to objectively assess the content of these books at the surface level.

So, we’ve conducted a shallow but wide comparative analysis using OdinText to determine with as little bias as possible whether the Quran is really more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts.

A few words of caution…

Due to the sensitive nature of this subject, I must emphasize that this analysis is by no means exhaustive, nor is it intended to advance any agenda or to conclusively prove anyone’s point.

The topic and data sources selected for this project constitute a significant departure from the consumer intelligence use cases for which clients typically turn to text analytics, so we thought this would be an interesting opportunity to demonstrate how this tool can be much more broadly applied to address questions and issues outside the realm of market research and business intelligence.

Again, this is only a cursory analysis. I believe there is more than one Ph.D. thesis awaiting students of theology, literature or political science who want to take a much deeper dive into this data.

About the “Data” Sources

First off, it seemed sensible and appropriate to analyze the Old and New Testaments separately. (The Jewish Torah makes up the first five books of the Christian Old Testament, of course, while the New Testament is unique to Christianity.)

We decided to split them for analysis for a couple of reasons: 1) They were written hundreds of years apart and 2) their combined size relative to the Quran.

Though all data (Old Testament, New Testament and Quran) were combined and read into OdinText as a single file, the Old Testament is the largest with over 23K verses and about 623K words, followed by the New Testament with just under 8K verses and 185K words, and then the Quran with just over 6K verses and less than 78K words.

Secondly, there are obviously multiple versions and translations of the texts available for study. We’ve selected the ones that were most accessible and best suited for this kind of analysis.

With regard to the Christian Bible, instead of the King James version, we opted to use the New International Version (NIV) because the somewhat updated language should be easier to work with.

In selecting an English translation of the Quran, we considered the Tafsir-ul-Quran (1957) by the Indian scholar Abdul Majid Daryabad, but decided to go with The Holy Qur’an (1917, 4th rev. ed. 1951) by Maulana Muhammad Ali because this version is more widely used and the data are more easily accessed.

We do not believe the text in either of these choices to differ materially.

Approach: A ‘Top-Down/Bottom-Up’ Inquiry

We recommend and OdinText employs a  ‘Top-Down/Bottom-Up’ approach to text analysis.

This means that identification of issues for investigation will be partly a priori or ‘Top-Down’ (i.e. the analyst determines specific topic areas to explore such as “violence”).

But there will also be a data-driven or ‘Bottom-Up’ aspect in which the software helps to identify topics or areas that may not have occurred to the analyst, but which could be important given the data.

For example…

OdinText looks for sentiments and emotions in the data as soon as it has been uploaded to our servers; however, as this particular data set is rather unique, certain custom dictionary definitions—what we refer to as “issues”—will also need to be created through the Top-Down/Bottom-Up approach.

One simple and unbiased way to do this is to allow the process by which these definitions are created to be as data-driven as possible. There are several ways to look to the data for information. For instance, we might start by looking at the top words mentioned in each source to understand what concepts cut across our data, and how they might be defined. (See figure 1)

3WayTextAnalyticsComparison

In this way, an overarching concept for comparison in each of the three sources can then be developed. For instance, a concept like “God” would need to include all common terms for this concept in each text source.

We can name such a concept something like “God All Inclusive,” and allowing all common definitions/terms for God in each of the texts to be picked up under this concept.

Accordingly, “God All Inclusive” would include any mention of “Lord” (28%) or “God” (11%) in the Old Testament, as well as any mentions of “Jesus” (17%), “God” (16%), “Lord” (8%) or “Christ” (7%) in the New Testament, and any mentions of “Allah” (30%) or “Lord” (14%) in the Quran.

As mentioned earlier, in order to keep this analysis as unbiased as possible (and in order to do it as quickly as possible), we will also rely on OdinText’s built in functionality to understand broader concepts such as positive and negative sentiment as well as other psychological constructs and emotion in text.  In other words, when we look at positive and negative emotion we will be using this broad-based metric across the three texts without any customization at all.

Now that I’ve laid the groundwork for this project, please join me tomorrow as we take a look at the initial results!

Ps.!
Considering many people take at least a year to read just one of these texts, you may find it interesting that it took OdinText less than 120 seconds to read, parse and analyze all three texts at once!

 

Up Next: Part II – One of these texts is angrier!

 

43 thoughts on “Text analysis answers: Is the Quran really more violent than the Bible?”

  1. If you’re not completing the analysis in the native language, you’re just analyzing the translators’ understanding and interpretation of the texts; this is very different than the actual texts.

    1. Technically, that is certainly true. However, if you are looking at broad categories of sentiment or topic, as this analysis does, there should be little variation in the results between translations, or by using the original. As well, it could be argued that what is most of interest is the viewpoint of the interpreters of the text, hence the translations may be *more* of interest, to some extent. But I would not expect that this analysis would be very sensitive at all to variations in translation or even language.

      1. I agree with your sentiment, as well as Jon and Tom’s. I think the difference, and to be sure I’m not a educated on this, but my understanding is that as a practicing Muslim, you need to read the text in the Arabic. If true, there may be more variance in sentiment in a translation vs. the other texts.

        1. Why would sentiment be any different in a different language translation Bill? Even machine translation like Google translate usually do an excellent job translating sentiment correctly, certainly the great pains that are taken to be as accurate as possible when translating religious texts would make it even less of an issue (a non issue).

          1. On your point about translator sentiment, I would refer you to an enlightening comparison of translations at
            http://www.meforum.org/717/assessing-english-translations-of-the-quran

            The section entitled “Twentieth Century Classics” discusses interesting aspects of the translation by Muhammad ‘Ali, and the article in totality notes that the translation of choice among most academics is “The Koran Interpreted” by Arthur Arberry.

            I do not mean to detract from the broad aim of this exercise, in fact I think this effort is a fantastic showcase for OdinText as well as a very interesting high level technology-driven addition to the ongoing global discussion. However, I would caution against dismissing translator bias as a significant factor in setting a text in a particular light. As such, perhaps this exercise could have been conducted using multiple translations to smooth out possible interprertational colouring.

    2. I don’t know what the variance between different translations are, but I agree, at least as a baseline it seems like you would want to run the analysis on multiple translations of each (since none of them were written in English) and compare the outcomes before making a judgment about the nature of the root text. Even with that, you could only make judgments on how the English language as a whole interprets these texts since some ideas and words are hard to fit into English.

      Alternately you can make an argument about impact of the book rather than the nature of the book. For those English speakers of a particular faith who are exposed to translation XYZ they see context ABC and therefore are impacted accordingly.

      You could even mix both and analyze multiple translations and weigh them my their “reach” for lack of a better term to see what the global impacts is.

  2. I’ve long wondered whether this technology can identify authors. Could it be applied as thus to the New Testament against other known “Church fathers'” writings to see who wrote various books in the New Testament? Old Testament? Would the translation matter? How much? Could it work on the earliest Greek texts of the NT? On Hebrew?

  3. Not many people read these in Ancient Greek, Aramaic, etc. The two most widely used Bible texts are English KJV and NIV, and great pains have been taken by all translations to be as close to original as possible. But then again, we’re more interested in what’s in most common use here anyway. That said, even machine translation can often work quite well at this level. We can go much deeper of course, and will go a bit deeper tomorrow. But the benefit of this first higher level pass is that it is uniquely unbiased. And therefore Professor Shlomo is correct in regards to little translational differences not mattering much for that reason as well.

    Thanks so much for the interest so far by the way. Was a bit nervous about publishing anything on such a sensitive topic. Have gotten several emails and phone calls as a result, and the vast majority have been positive.

  4. An interesting analytic approach — that raises the question, is it the appropriate approach to answer this question. Language by its nature is biased. Language is a dynamic process that changes over time and with cultures. While unfamiliar with the Quran, it seems that historical, cultural and linguistic contexts are relevant factors that are unavoidable in gauging the “violence” spectrum. The best one can hope for is to minimize the bias.
    It appears in laying the groundwork, with the creation of “God All Inclusive” category introduced a bias into the analysis. The New Testament does not speak of Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ or Messiah as the same “God” as identified in the Old Testament referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses. What is the reason for creating this broad category and not leaving the individual categories as found? Is there some underlying constraint in the software or analytic algorithm?
    I agree with the earlier post that the bias of the translations must be considered or at least acknowledged. To simply brush aside such bias, belies the overall objective of keeping bias, known or unknown, to a minimum. For example, on this very topic is Jesus the same as the God of the Old Testament or Allah in the Quran? A survey of a few widely published or used versions of the Bible on the surface seem to put forth different views unless the entire context of John and other parts of the Bible are considered.
    John 1:18
    New International Version: “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

    American Standard Version: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

    Byington: “Nobody ever has seen God; an Only Born God, he who is in the Father’s bosom, he gave the account of him.”

    King James Version: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

    This is a literal transliteration from Greek – Kingdom Interlinear
    θεὸν(God) οὐδεὶς(no one) ἑώρακεν(has seen) πώποτε·(at any time;) μονογενὴς(only-begotten) θεὸς(god) ὁ(the (one) ὢν(being) εἰς(into) τὸν(the) κόλπον(bosom) τοῦ(of the) πατρὸς(Father) ἐκεῖνος(that (one) ἐξηγήσατο.

    Despite these “challenges”, I look forward to the results of this text analytic application. Perhaps a validation method to uncover any linguistic bias, as someone suggested, is to conduct the same analyses in Arabic and Hebrew.

  5. The NIV is not a word for word translation. It uses what its authors call “dynamic equivalence.” The idea is to convey the thoughts of the writers in contemporary English (interpretation rather than translation, you could say, I suppose). However, in some instances a single word can be translated a dozen different ways (and context determines which is proper, but that’s where debates over nuances occur too), and some words have no single English equivalent. My guess is that it is best to use an English Bible rather than the original languages for these purposes, but comparing with a word for word modern translation would be interesting too. (The NASB is likely the closest to that standard.)

    I’m not sure word counts tell us much of anything though. It’s the content of the message. After all, not all violence is created equal. Some is just, and some us not. Sometimes violence is recorded to make the point that violence is an effect – not a cause – of human depravity, but that’s another story….

  6. Before looking at your second post, I can already confidently guess that your answer is No. Not because I know the Bible of the Quran well but because I believe you wouldn’t dare to post it if it’s Yes. 😀

    By the way, it’s a very interesting idea. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Definitely agree, context is important, and in day 3 we start getting into that and triangulating going well beyond word count to understand who is receiving said actions. As I mentioned several times though, there is value to a higher level analysis as well as a deeper analysis. Both are possible with OdinText but for various reasons stated, we stayed at a high level. You could think of this analysis at the highest level as a way to determine a rating for a movie. As a movie increases in proportion of violence, language, sexuality or other adult content it moves to a higher/older rating regardless of whether ‘the bad guys’ or ‘the good guys’ are on receiving end. We’ve definitely gone a little deeper than that by day 3 here, but again for a number of reasons, some more obvious, we have chosen to limit the scope of this analysis. We welcome others to take it further.

  8. There are 99 names of Allah used in the Quran. I hope you are aware of and do incorporate it in your analysis.

  9. Tom, you’re right that for the majority of Christians, they don’t read the Bible in Koine Greek or Hebrew languages. But for Moslems, they still read the Qur’an in Arabic language. Merely reciting it in Arabic will earn rewards for them. So I think for this ‘high-level’ analysis, it won’t be fair to use English translation of the Qur’an.

  10. This is total nonsense as you’re leaving out Jesus words and deeds as opposed to Muhammads word’s and deeds.

    Did Muhammad kill those who opposed him. Did Jesus?

    Your analysis is total trash and leading people in an erroneous manner.

  11. Curious about context. Assume Odinxxx is far beyond word counts, but. When “violence” is encountered and counted, is it by, or against, Christians/Jews/Muslim? Is there any weighting used to measure violence against individuals vs groups or nations? Some say non-Arabic versions of the Quran are considered interpretations of the Quran. Unless the original Arabic verses are embedded, it cannot technically be called a Quran. The Quran states that its verses have multiple meanings. The Quran has verses that are decisive, clear and fundamental, AND allegorical verses. Interpreting allegorical verses is difficult. Revelations in the Bible similarly has both clear, and allegorical verses, that dare not be taken literally. I don’t ask to have this explained to me in the workings of the program code, but am curious how the programmers addressed these problems.

  12. Tom obviously you have not read the Bible or the Qu-ran. The bible does not ever lead you to take life, except with a murderer. That is why Christians are so fiercely opposed to abortion. You might want to read and understand what the Qu-ran demands against infidels (non-muslims), and homosexuals. Jesus Christ came to define the law of the old testament. For example, Thou shall not kill. Jesus teaches us that if you have anger or hatred in your heart, then you are just as guilty of murder. Their are hundreds of examples but there is not enough space or time. The Qu-ran is not equal to the Bible, not in love nor in violence.

  13. This is an absurd statement “One simple and unbiased way to do this is to allow the process by which these definitions are created to be as data-driven as possible.” in fact it is extremely biased for it strips the inherent building of relative cultural discourse justification authorisation for terror-genocide against Other into an unconnected jumble of words and phrases where the rationale for terror-genocide against Other cultures turns into a competition of whose pile is higher.

    The why does the Quran as opposed to the bible, particularly the new testament inform vastly differing outcomes in the present? Clearly there are fatal assumptions with the premise of this analysis the mere existence of the relatively the same amount of words and sentences determines a conclusion the level of violence emanating from cultural codex is higher or the same so do not go around accusing Muslims of having a cultural codex informing terror-genocide when your own Christian bible has relatively the same or more. Are Christians running down French school girls and putting bullets in their head or Muslim school girls for that matter?

    Also there is an assumption the exemplar (messianic) templates who have strung these words and sentences together behavior of Jesus compared to Mohammad makes no difference to actual outcomes.

    I would advise the author ditch his extremely biased approach and pick up Mein Kampf, The New Testament, the Quran, the relative exemplar behavior check up on the generic cultural codex constructs which form the justification and authorisation for terror-genocide. You will find on doing so Mien Kampf terror-genocide construct of Other is exactly the same as that in the Quran though the Quran tends to be much more explicit and ferocious particularly regards defectors.

    As for the Christian bible clearly it informs vastly different outcomes in present times to that informed by the Quran the reasons are contained in Inventing the Individual The Origins of Western Liberalism by Larry Siedentop.

    Now why not try your unbiased method on determining if the Qur’anic codex can inform the same number of inherent codex constructs in the bible which enables ‘The Individual’ even the notion of liberty to come into being.

    Good luck.

  14. I am waiting for odintext to recognize and parse the arabic characters and words. It will be much more interesting. instead of english translation of the holy Al Quran.

  15. Assalamualaikum. JazakAllah! If a cursory look revealed mixed results then fine but the fact that a cursory reveals Qur’an to be less angry and more trusting and less war-mongering is telling.

    Islam Does Not Allow and Never Needed Sword to Spread
    Indonesia. Largest Muslim country. No Islamic “with sword” conquests ever recorded in history for that country. Go figure:
    [Qur’an 2:257] “There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; … ”
    [Qur’an 10:100] “And if thy Lord had enforced His will, surely, all who are on the earth would have believed together. Wilt thou, then, force men to become believers?”
    [Qur’an 18:30] “And say, ‘It is the truth from your Lord; wherefore let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve …”
    [Qur’an 6:108] “And if Allah had enforced His will, they would not have set up gods with Him. And We have not made thee a keeper over them nor art thou over them a guardian.”
    Islam never needed and never allowed to spread by any force. Islam spreads by winning people’s hearts through the power of love.

  16. Since the days when Roman Emperors threw Christians to the lions, the relations between the emperors and the heads of the church have undergone many changes.
    Constantine the Great, who became Emperor in the year 306 – exactly 1700 years ago – encouraged the practice of Christianity in the empire, which included Palestine. Centuries later, the church split into an Eastern (Orthodox) and a Western (Catholic) part. In the West, the Bishop of Rome, who acquired the title of Pope, demanded that the Emperor accept his superiority.

    The struggle between the Emperors and the Popes played a central role in European history and divided the peoples. It knew ups and downs. Some Emperors dismissed or expelled a Pope, some Popes dismissed or excommunicated an Emperor. One of the Emperors, Henry IV, “walked to Canossa”, standing for three days barefoot in the snow in front of the Pope’s castle, until the Pope deigned to annul his excommunication.

    But there were times when Emperors and Popes lived in peace with each other. We are witnessing such a period today. Between the present Pope, Benedict XVI, and the present Emperor, George Bush II, there exists a wonderful harmony. Last week’s speech by the Pope, which aroused a world-wide storm, went well with Bush’s crusade against “Islamofascism”, in the context of the “Clash of Civilizations”.

    IN HIS lecture at a German university, the 265th Pope described what he sees as a huge difference between Christianity and Islam: while Christianity is based on reason, Islam denies it. While Christians see the logic of God’s actions, Muslims deny that there is any such logic in the actions of Allah.

    As a Jewish atheist, I do not intend to enter the fray of this debate. It is much beyond my humble abilities to understand the logic of the Pope. But I cannot overlook one passage, which concerns me too, as an Israeli living near the fault-line of this “war of civilizations”.

    In order to prove the lack of reason in Islam, the Pope asserts that the prophet Muhammad ordered his followers to spread their religion by the sword. According to the Pope, that is unreasonable, because faith is born of the soul, not of the body. How can the sword influence the soul?

    To support his case, the Pope quoted – of all people – a Byzantine Emperor, who belonged, of course, to the competing Eastern Church. At the end of the 14th century, the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus told of a debate he had – or so he said (its occurrence is in doubt) – with an unnamed Persian Muslim scholar. In the heat of the argument, the Emperor (according to himself) flung the following words at his adversary:

    “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”.

    These words give rise to three questions: (a) Why did the Emperor say them? (b) Are they true? (c) Why did the present Pope quote them?

    WHEN MANUEL II wrote his treatise, he was the head of a dying empire. He assumed power in 1391, when only a few provinces of the once illustrious empire remained. These, too, were already under Turkish threat.

    At that point in time, the Ottoman Turks had reached the banks of the Danube. They had conquered Bulgaria and the north of Greece, and had twice defeated relieving armies sent by Europe to save the Eastern Empire. On May 29, 1453, only a few years after Manuel’s death, his capital, Constantinople (the present Istanbul) fell to the Turks, putting an end to the Empire that had lasted for more than a thousand years.

    During his reign, Manuel made the rounds of the capitals of Europe in an attempt to drum up support. He promised to reunite the church. There is no doubt that he wrote his religious treatise in order to incite the Christian countries against the Turks and convince them to start a new crusade. The aim was practical, theology was serving politics.

    In this sense, the quote serves exactly the requirements of the present Emperor, George Bush II. He, too, wants to unite the Christian world against the mainly Muslim “Axis of Evil”. Moreover, the Turks are again knocking on the doors of Europe, this time peacefully. It is well known that the Pope supports the forces that object to the entry of Turkey into the European Union.

    IS THERE any truth in Manuel’s argument?

    The pope himself threw in a word of caution. As a serious and renowned theologian, he could not afford to falsify written texts. Therefore, he admitted that the Qur’an specifically forbade the spreading of the faith by force. He quoted the second Sura, verse 256 (strangely fallible, for a pope, he meant verse 257) which says: “There must be no coercion in matters of faith”.

    How can one ignore such an unequivocal statement? The Pope simply argues that this commandment was laid down by the prophet when he was at the beginning of his career, still weak and powerless, but that later on he ordered the use of the sword in the service of the faith. Such an order does not exist in the Qur’an. True, Muhammad called for the use of the sword in his war against opposing tribes – Christian, Jewish and others – in Arabia, when he was building his state. But that was a political act, not a religious one; basically a fight for territory, not for the spreading of the faith.

    Jesus said: “You will recognize them by their fruits.” The treatment of other religions by Islam must be judged by a simple test: How did the Muslim rulers behave for more than a thousand years, when they had the power to “spread the faith by the sword”?

    Well, they just did not.

    For many centuries, the Muslims ruled Greece. Did the Greeks become Muslims? Did anyone even try to Islamize them? On the contrary, Christian Greeks held the highest positions in the Ottoman administration. The Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians and other European nations lived at one time or another under Ottoman rule and clung to their Christian faith. Nobody compelled them to become Muslims and all of them remained devoutly Christian.

    True, the Albanians did convert to Islam, and so did the Bosniaks. But nobody argues that they did this under duress. They adopted Islam in order to become favorites of the government and enjoy the fruits.

    In 1099, the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and massacred its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants indiscriminately, in the name of the gentle Jesus. At that time, 400 years into the occupation of Palestine by the Muslims, Christians were still the majority in the country. Throughout this long period, no effort was made to impose Islam on them. Only after the expulsion of the Crusaders from the country, did the majority of the inhabitants start to adopt the Arabic language and the Muslim faith – and they were the forefathers of most of today’s Palestinians.

    THERE IS no evidence whatsoever of any attempt to impose Islam on the Jews. As is well known, under Muslim rule the Jews of Spain enjoyed a bloom the like of which the Jews did not enjoy anywhere else until almost our time. Poets like Yehuda Halevy wrote in Arabic, as did the great Maimonides. In Muslim Spain, Jews were ministers, poets, scientists. In Muslim Toledo, Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars worked together and translated the ancient Greek philosophical and scientific texts. That was, indeed, the Golden Age. How would this have been possible, had the Prophet decreed the “spreading of the faith by the sword”?

    What happened afterwards is even more telling. When the Catholics re-conquered Spain from the Muslims, they instituted a reign of religious terror. The Jews and the Muslims were presented with a cruel choice: to become Christians, to be massacred or to leave. And where did the hundreds of thousand of Jews, who refused to abandon their faith, escape? Almost all of them were received with open arms in the Muslim countries. The Sephardi (“Spanish”) Jews settled all over the Muslim world, from Morocco in the west to Iraq in the east, from Bulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire) in the north to Sudan in the south. Nowhere were they persecuted. They knew nothing like the tortures of the Inquisition, the flames of the auto-da-fe, the pogroms, the terrible mass-expulsions that took place in almost all Christian countries, up to the Holocaust.

    WHY? Because Islam expressly prohibited any persecution of the “peoples of the book”. In Islamic society, a special place was reserved for Jews and Christians. They did not enjoy completely equal rights, but almost. They had to pay a special poll-tax, but were exempted from military service – a trade-off that was quite welcome to many Jews. It has been said that Muslim rulers frowned upon any attempt to convert Jews to Islam even by gentle persuasion – because it entailed the loss of taxes.

    Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot but feel a deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has protected the Jews for fifty generations, while the Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried many times “by the sword” to get them to abandon their faith.

    THE STORY about “spreading the faith by the sword” is an evil legend, one of the myths that grew up in Europe during the great wars against the Muslims – the reconquista of Spain by the Christians, the Crusades and the repulsion of the Turks, who almost conquered Vienna. I suspect that the German Pope, too, honestly believes in these fables. That means that the leader of the Catholic world, who is a Christian theologian in his own right, did not make the effort to study the history of other religions.

    Why did he utter these words in public? And why now?

    There is no escape from viewing them against the background of the new Crusade of Bush and his evangelist supporters, with his slogans of “Islamofascism” and the “Global War on Terrorism” – when “terrorism” has become a synonym for Muslims. For Bush’s handlers, this is a cynical attempt to justify the domination of the world’s oil resources. Not for the first time in history, a religious robe is spread to cover the nakedness of economic interests; not for the first time, a robbers’ expedition becomes a Crusade.

    The speech of the Pope blends into this effort. Who can foretell the dire consequences?

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1159094813/

  17. Great work on the programming side and a worthwhile project, but lets not forget that ultimately it’s the faithful in each case that resort to violence. Books in themselves never do. And the reasons are most likely combinations of social and political circumstances, not some words of some long-gone prophets.

  18. As a Muslim, I would like to point out that the Qur’an used in this isn’t even belong to Muslims, it is a book that is an “A CORRUPTED ALTERATION” of quran that is used by a Cult that claims to be Muslims. ALL Muslims reject this group of people, because they have blasphemed against the words of Allah by changing it. ABSOLUTELY NO MUSLIM uses this FAKE QURAN as the words of Allah. ONLY the Ahmadiyya cult uses it….their beliefs contradict the quran, hence why they needed to alter it!. Please redo this study using a quran actually belonging to the Muslims. The most popular English translation of Qur’an is the Sahih International . I worry this article and the results will spread misinformation about Islam to the people because THAT IS NOT THE QURAN! The author (not translator because he adds his own beliefs into it) of this Qu’ran is Ghulam Ahmad Mirza, who thinks he is the Messiah, also thinks he is the Mahdi, and many other attrocious lies. He is a nutjob! You can read more about the cult and their alterations to Qur’an here:
    http://irshad.org/exposed/translation.php

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