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Author of “Islamic Da Vinci Code” Claims Death Threats Made

WorldNetDaily introduces us to Brad Thor, an author of bestselling pulp thrillers whom WND compares to both Salman Rushdie and Dan Brown:

The author of the best-selling new thriller, “The Last Patriot,” says his life already has been threatened for contending the Muslim holy book contains errors and is not based on the last revelations of Muhammad.

…In the book, which is being called the “Islamic Da Vinci Code,” Thor posits that Islamic scholars have engaged in a conspiracy to cover up missing parts of the Quran that allegedly reveal their prophet had a final moderate revelation that abrogates the violent passages of the Quran.

Thor, who has served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell Program, says his research confirmed that parchments and fragments of parchments of the Quran were uncovered at the Great Mosque in Sana’a, Yemen, in 1974.

“What they found when they started studying them was, uh-oh, there’s stuff in here that doesn’t look like the Quran today,” he explained, “and we’ve gone around telling everybody that the Quran is perfect and now here are these discrepancies.”

Actually, the parchments were found in 1971, not 1974, and the discovery has been in the public domain for a long time – Thor’s alleged “research” has “confirmed” nothing. Probably Thor came across them when reading a popular account, such as an article by Martin Bright which appeared in the New Statesman in 2001:

German scholars who studied the manuscripts discovered that some of the Koranic writing diverges from the authorised version, which by tradition is considered the pure, unadulterated word of God. What’s more, some of the writing appears to have been inscribed over earlier, “rubbed-out” versions of the text. This editing supports the belief of [John] Wansbrough and his pupils that the Koran as we know it does not date from the time of Mohammad. Andrew Rippin, professor of Islamic history at the University of Victoria in Canada, and the author of a revisionist history of Islam published by Routledge, said: “The Sana’a manuscripts [are] part of the process of filling in the holes in our knowledge of what might have happened.”

However, the various scholars cited by Bright distanced themselves from his vulgar and polemical appropriation of their work in the following issue. Michael Cook explained that the Sana’a fragments “scatter a few apples over the cobbles, but they don’t upset the apple-cart”, while Gerald Hawting of SOAS complained that

…The spurious air of conspiracy and censorship conjured up in Martin Bright’s article is nonsense. All of the named scholars whose “conclusions” are said to be so “devastating” for Islam hold or held senior positions in front-rank universities and their books are published by leading university presses and other houses, freely available for anyone who cares to read them.

I did not “warn” (whatever that might mean) the journalist concerned not to publish the article, and the “decent obscurity” I suggested was for the right-wing and fundamentalist websites by which he is so fascinated…

Against this it should be noted that one German scholar of the Koran chooses to use a pseudonym (“Christoph Luxenberg”), although his book The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran doesn’t appear to have provoked much of a reaction.

Of course, a popular thriller with a fictitous premise is rather different from a scholarly tome, and it is clear that Thor is revelling in creating a possible controversy to rival the Danish Muhammad cartoons. However, he gives us no details about the death threats against him, and it has to be noted that US conservative circles have been known to define “death threat” very loosely; Joseph Farah absurdly (but predictably) tried to spin a contemptuous dismissal by CAIR of the new WND book Why We Left Islam as some sort of threat to his person. Of course, any real death threats to Thor should be denounced vigorously, but I wonder why we read nothing about their content or about any police investigations.

The “Analytic Red Cell Program”, meanwhile, was profiled in the Washington Post in 2004 – the idea was to ask creative people for their input as regards possible terrorist scenarios.

One Response

  1. […] whom I previously blogged here, has recently provided a blurb (alongside Geert Wilders) for Pamela Geller’s new book about […]

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