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An Agnostic Jew talks about her experience with the Koran

9 December 2010 IslamophobiaToday 6 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Lesley Hazleton

This piece should inspire people of all faiths. Lesley Hazleton explores the intricacies of the Qur’an with insight that affirms the Qur’an as a book that should be read, understood, listened to, experienced and discussed, not misinterpreted and hijacked by extremists or Islamophobes.

TEDxRainier is an independently organized TED event held in Seattle Washington.

Here is a bio if you are interested:

Lesley Hazleton explores the Koran and finds much that is quite different from what is reported in commonly cited accounts.

A psychologist by training and Middle East reporter by experience, British-born Lesley Hazleton has spent the last ten years exploring the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion, past and present, intersect. Her most recent book, After the Prophet: the Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split, was a finalist for the 2010 PEN-USA nonfiction award.

She lived and worked in Jerusalem for thirteen years — a city where politics and religion are at their most incendiary — then moved to New York. She came to Seattle to get her pilot’s license in 1992, saw the perfect houseboat, and stayed. By 1994, she’d flown away all of her savings, and has never regretted a single cent of it. Now her raft rides low in the water under the weight of research as she works on her next book, The First Muslim, a new look at the life of Muhammad.

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6 Comments »

  1. wonderful, thank you.

  2. Wonderful perspectives, nice POV. It seems however that you must either be a Jew or an agnostic, how can you be both? If you are Jewish, you can not be agnostic and if agnostic, not Jewish.? Just saying…

  3. James, your comment betrays an ignorance of Judaism.

    Judaism is a nationality and a culture as well as a religion. Jews are born to Jews– there is no faith test. Among Jews who are religious (and those who convert) there is still no faith test. How you live is more important than what you believe.

    Of course there are fundamentalists who might disagree with this perspective, who feel that to be a ‘real Jew’, you have to agree with some profession of faith, but they are a very small minority.

  4. Being a Jew is neither a nationality nor a religion. It is an ethnicity and a culture. There are Jews of all religion, and of none.

  5. Unfortunately, in this talk Hazleton completely avoids the 500 or more verses of hatred and threats of torture and murder against all non-Muslims, that the Koran contains. She fails to mention that women are second class citizens in the Koran. She avoids the parable of Moses and the Green Man in chapter 18 (The Cave 60-86) which explains that you can kill a son or daughter if they are rebellious or non-Muslim. And she negates to tell us about the threats made to Abu Lahab (Muhummad’s uncle) in chapter 111, which requests the death and torture of Abu Lahab and his wife.

    Hazleton’s talk is mere Islamic propaganda rather than spiritual or secular enlightenment.

  6. Such a shame, what a beautiful finding of the truth and yet again people fall into the patterns of their own poluted minds and hearts. Maybe we should start questioning ourselfs: why is it that we are so eager to think negatively…and arent we a hundered procent responsible for own negativity?

    If the Quran is read with negatif expectations/views, thus a lack of an open mind, all that will be shown to you by God is your own perspective of it. Try and dare to look beyond the wordly and discover for youreself…

    God bless and be kind to one another.

    Salaam/peace

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