Denmark: Koran becomes Christmas gift hit

Believers and non-believers alike look to a new Koran translation to give them insight into Islam

A new Danish translation of the Koran has been snapped up from bookstores' shelves, joining the ties, toasters and toys wrapped and waiting to be opened Christmas Eve.

In the first month of its release, nearly half of the book's first-run 10,000 copies have been sold, sending philologist Ellen Wulff's translation to number two on the non-fiction list.

Bookstore managers have reported that this translation of the central text of Islam has become a surprise Christmas gift hit.

'The majority of Korans we sell are for Christmas presents. I know, because we wrap a lot of them,' Maja Nordholm, manager of Arnold Busck bookstore in Odense, told daily newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad.

The only other existing Danish translation of the Koran was published in 1967. It is neither acknowledged by Shia nor Sunni Muslims, however, as the translator, Abdul S. Madsen, belonged to the Muslim sect of Ahmadiyya, which teaches that a second prophet arrived after Mohammed.

The release of the new translation comes at a time when Islam is a highly debated subject, noted Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, an Islam expert and professor at the University of Copenhagen. He felt it could fill a need among non-Muslim Danes to gain an understanding of Islam.

'You can't read the newspaper, listen to the radio or turn on the TV without encountering Islam and Muslims,' said Simonsen. 'So there is a desire to learn what the Koran is about. Some will read it to find out what the Koran says. Others will read it to take part in the public debate.'

The translation has also opened a window for Muslims with an immigrant background who cannot read Arabic, according to Kate Østergaard, a researcher in religion at the University of Copenhagen. She believes the Danish translation fills a need among young Muslims to define and understand their religion.

'Their religion is continually in focus, so they want to look at what is in the Koran and find out what real Islam is,' she said.

Amir Mahdi, 24, a Muslim living in Odense, agrees. He has difficulty reading Arabic, so he was happy to receive a copy of the Danish version from his father.

'The Danish Koran opens doors for me to rediscover my religion and gain a greater understanding for something that means a lot in my life,' Mahdi said. 'Now I can make my own interpretations and go deeper into Islam.'
Source: Copenhagen Post (English)


Anonymous said...

guys please help me.. i dont know where i can buy the dansh version of koran.. do you know any place here in denmark where i can purchase it??

here is my email add:

hope you can help me.. thanks!

Esther said...

Buying online there's quite a few possibilities: See here, here and here

Also, see Islamisk Studiebogssamling.