Arab media around the Middle East this week reacted hysterically after learning that a Jewish professor at Haifa University is using verses from the Koran to teach Arab Muslim psychology students how to treat their future Muslim patients.
Professor Ofer Grosbard developed the Quranet course using specially chosen verses from the Muslim holy book to help students reinforce in their patients concepts like respect, responsibility, honesty, dignity and kindness.
Grosbard realized the need for the special course after one of his Muslim students complained that traditional Western psychology would be ineffective on Muslim patients who hold tightly to superstitious beliefs.
Despite the fact that the Quranet course was developed together with 15 Muslim students and was reviewed by three Islamic clerical figures, Muslim authorities around the Middle East denounced the project because it was overseen by a Jew.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dr. Abdullah Al Mutlaq of the Senior Ulema Board in Saudi Arabia insisted that all Jews hate Islam, and that Prof. Grosbard’s efforts to emphasize the Koran’s few lessons in human dignity and kindness would give Muslims the wrong impression of their religion.
Dr. Manae Abdel-Halim Mahmoud, professor of Koranic sciences at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, told an Egyptian newspaper that the Israeli project “aims to tarnish the image of Islam by giving wrong interpretation of the noble Koran.”
Palestinian Authority officials also blasted the project, stating that the current prevalent interpretation of Islam that has led to so much regional death and destruction is the correct interpretation, and that Prof. Grosbard’s kinder, gentler selection of Koranic verses is misleading.
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is not-for-profit [501 (C) (3)], grass-roots community of scholars who have united to promote honest, fact-based, and civil discourse, especially in regard to Middle East issues. We believe that ethnic, national, and religious hatreds, including anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, have no place in our institutions, disciplines, and communities. We employ academic means to address these issues.
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