‘Quran: Learn It or Burn It?’ topic of open house at Orono mosque

Posted Jan. 19, 2012, at 9:02 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — The Islamic Center of Maine, 151 Park St., will hold its 3rd annual open house at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4.

The topic will be “The Quran: Learn It or Burn It?” Dr. Mohammed Mir will lead the discussion to explain the revelation, composition, context and basics of Muslims’ holy book. The Quranic view of women, war, Wall Street and the world also will be presented.

The title is intended to be provocative, but not in the way most Americans would define that word.

“Questions provoke thought,” he said earlier this week in an e mail response to questions. “They take us out of our shells, stereotypes and comfort zones. The title is meant to clarify certain misconceptions about Quran and will not focus on recent ‘Quran burning’ events. It is meant to present a panoramic picture of Quran to a curious audience.”

Mir said the word burn was used as metaphor for the hatred of Islam that can flow from ignorance and phobias and not as a jumping off point to discuss recent calls to burn Muslims’ holy book.

“Quran is a universal message of humility and humanity,” Mir said. “Learning Quran is a lifelong endeavor.”

He recommended two English translations of the Quran for people interested in reading it. One is by Dr. Farooq Malik, the other by a Jewish convert named Leopold Weiss, who also is known by Muhammad Asad.

“The former is recommended for ease and contemporary language and the later for deep linguistics and commentary,” Mir said in the email. “The only prerequisite is to study it with an open mind. You cannot judge a book by its cover.

“If you already have an opinion, the pride and prejudice will distort images. Even pure white light divides into colors when viewed through a prism,” he continued. “Ask, do not assume. Reading Quran will generate questions. Most answers are only an email [or] call away.”

The Orono mosque holds classes at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and all are welcome, according to Mir.

“The talk is geared to open doors, heal wounds and not resurrect controversies,” he said. “Quran is not to kill for or die for. It is to be lived by.”

Visitors to the Islamic Center of Maine are asked to observe the following mosque etiquette:

• Remove footwear upon entering the building.

• Bring no food or drink into the prayer hall.

• Place cellphone ringers on silent.

• Both men and women should wear modest, nonrevealing clothing.

• Avoid handshakes or physical contact with the opposite gender.

The open house is part of the mosque’s community outreach efforts, according to Jenan Jondy, outreach coordinator for the center. As interest in learning about Islam has increased, so have education efforts by the Muslims living in Greater Bangor, she said last year.

For more information on the open house at the Islamic Center of Maine, call 866-3410 or visit theicmo.com.

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