This popular post was first published here on April 27, 2011.
I was in the middle of nowhere. I found myself loaded up in an SUV with about 8 other American seminary students as we entered a village in the middle of some woods outside of Jakarta, Indonesia. I tensed up as we passed a Muslim training facility where we were told they train children in two things: the Koran and terror. The ethnic group in that part of Indonesia rejects all education but the Koran and radical Islam.
It makes their children ripe pickings for terrorist organizations.
That day was probably the scariest in my life. But I was more than just scared, I was also sad. I was heartbroken that the children of that village and in that area were getting no education but the Koran. None of them even understood Arabic, but they could mindlessly read the Koran. And the children grew up with radicals telling them what it means to truly follow God.
Most thoughtful people would have a similar reaction to the scene I witnessed. But not the political Left. They are so convinced of the beauty of the spread of Islam, that they are now applauding Koran-only education. I know we always thought progressives were pro liberal education, but that has now been proven wrong with the reaction by many on the Left to a new documentary film called “Koran by Heart.”
Esteemed documentary filmmaker Greg Baker premiered his film last week at the Tribeca Film Festival to standing ovations and joyful applause. The film follows young Muslim children in the annual 2009 International Holy Quran Festival held in Cairo, Egypt. The competition pits 110 contestants ranging in age from 7 to 20 against each other in the ability to memorize all 600 pages of the Koran.
The movie reveals that most of these kids have devoted their lives to this memorization. Surprisingly, the pro-Muslim film doesn’t hide the fact that some of these children learn nothing else, and most of these children don’t understand any of the words they are reciting. Salon.com, in a glowing review, points out:
One of our stars is a 10-year-old kid from Tajikistan named Nabiollah, an angelic, big-eyed moppet who can recite the entire Quran from memory in an astonishingly pure boyish soprano, with remarkable command of melody and intonation. He’s like the Justin Bieber of Quran recitation, and judges at the Cairo event seize on him as an amazing gift from Allah. But memorizing the Quran (in Arabic, which he does not otherwise speak or read) at a rural madrassa has nearly been Nabiollah’s entire education; he is functionally illiterate in Tajik, his own language.
How does the Left respond to clear anti-education? They are a bit uncomfortable, but still manage to rise to their feet and applause this pro-Islam film. In the conflict of education versus Islamic propaganda – Mohammad wins every time.
Salon.com summarzied the film this way:
It’s “Spellbound” plus a poetry slam. Plus Islamic fundamentalism…but if you’re open to the possibility that Islam in practice is an incredibly diverse spiritual and social movement that embraces 1.6 billion human beings and a lot of internal discussion and disagreement, and that the more we know about it the better, then “Koran by Heart” is a movie you’ve got to see.