"The Koran will be read from cover to cover on Finnish public radio as part of a new series, it's been announced.
The country's public broadcaster, Yle, has divided the reading into 60 half-hour segments, including a discussion between two experts on the context and meaning of each part. Beginning on 7 March, the project is "intended to increase people's knowledge of the Koran and Muslim culture in Finland", Yle says on its website. A leader from Finland's Muslim community, Imam Anas Hajjar, will discuss each section with Professor Jaakko Hameen-Anttila, who translated the text into Finnish. "It is important that the Koran is read in its entirety, and not just select items that show that Islam is bad and violent or good and beautiful," says Mr Hameen-Anttila. "All of the text material is served up for the listener to assess."
Interpreting the 1,400-year-old text for the series wasn't always straightforward. "We haven't been at loggerheads, but Imam Anas Hajjar and I have often read the same passage and approached it from a very different point of view," the professor says. "Imam Hajjar reads practical, contemporary meanings into the text and I see it as an historic work that is tied to the time in which it was created." An estimated 60,000 Muslims live in Finland, out of a population of about 5.4 million people. Yle says the wider Finnish Muslim community was involved in making the programme and approves of the finished product."
As I said, I started reading the Koran, again, for educational purposes. Though I have not got too far, at this point, I am hoping to read through it gradually. It would be good to have CBC radio take up a project like the Finnish broadcaster, so everyone could understand and discuss the text.
Maybe next, they can take up the Bible, and reacquaint the culture with it.
It would be great if our public discourse could include intelligent discussion of holy books.
I should send this suggestion on to the CBC radio.