Sebastian Faulks outburst risks anger of Muslims
The bestselling author has dismissed the Koran as the ‘rantings of a schizophrenic’ and ‘barren’ compared to the Bible
The best-selling author Sebastian Faulks has dismissed the Koran as a "depressing" book that is the "rantings of a schizophrenic" after researching the Islamic scriptures for his latest novel.
In an interview with the Sunday Times about his forthcoming novel A Week in December, a sweeping and satirical look at present-day London, Faulks risked the wrath of Muslims by saying that, compared to the Bible, the Koran is "barren" in terms of both ethics and rip-roaring stories.
"It's very one-dimensional, and people talk about the beauty of the Arabic and so on, but the English translation I read was, from a literary point of view, very disappointing," he told interviewer Cathy Galvin.
According to Faulks, the basic tenet of the Koran is simply that: "It says 'the Jews and the Christians were along the right tracks, but actually, they were wrong and I'm right, and if you don't believe me, tough - you'll burn for ever.' That's basically the message of the book."
The Birdsong and Charlotte Gray author's 10th novel is set in 2007, as a young London barrister reads the Koran to prepare for the case of a Muslim schoolgirl who hasn't been allowed to wear traditional dress to school.
Faulks admits he did not talk to many British Muslims before beginning to write. "I read some books and I've got a few Muslim friends, but I thought I'd get it better from books and from reading the source."
In 1989 a fatwa was issued against author Salman Rushdie, after the Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said his novel The Satanic Verses was "blasphemous against Islam". Two years ago, fellow novelist Martin Amis caused a furore when he said that "the Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order".
A spokesman for the Islamic Society of Britain, Ajmal Masroor, said Faulk's statements ran the risk of stirring religious hatred against Muslims. "Attacks on Islam are nothing new, but the danger is this will have a 'drip, drip' effect. People don't seem to understand the consequences of saying things like this could be quite severe. History tells us it can encourage hatred." ·
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