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National Geographic – The Koran (2008)

National Geographic The Koran

A Window into the Volatile Paradox of Islam’s Most Sacred Text. The Koran is one of the most ideologically influential texts in the world, with over a billion Muslims following its precepts. Yet within this singular religious community there are profound differences in attitudes about peace, violence, punishment, forgiveness and the status of women, among others.
In this eye-opening film, director Antony Thomas goes deep into the heart of the Muslim world to explore the history and current state of Islam. He attempts to ascertain what Islam’s Holy Book actually says about such subjects as equality, punishment, peace, other faiths and suicide bombing. As with most holy books, the paradoxes contained within lead to an extremely wide range of interpretations, and as such can be “used for ultimate grace or as an alibi for appalling acts and beliefs.” Thomas investigates how Islam’s teachings in the Koran are very tactfully being employed by nations and powerful leaders alike to further their own political, cultural, and social norms. He explores the branches within the religion—including the Wahabi, Sunni and Shia Islam, as well as Sufism—and merges the similarities and differences within these divisions through the voices of the people themselves. From an ordinary Egyptian woman to several notable scholars, The Koran unveils the beliefs of ordinary Muslims who firmly believe in co-existence and tolerance of all. He also delves into the personal lives of his subjects, who range from ayatollahs and grand imams to simple farmers and women living in veiled seclusion; their relationship with this holy Book reveals a complex, beautiful and often contradictory guide for humanity. Perhaps reassuringly, despite the intolerance and prejudice that permeates most Muslim societies, Thomas finds the majority of Muslims simply wish to be left alone to pray, meaning no harm to anyone, and are devastated at the rise of the fundamentalists, fearing for the future of their faith, “increasingly requisitioned and twisted by joyless religious dictators.”

A Film by Antony Thomas ; Juniper Production in Association with Odyssey Networks, Vision TV, Channel Four and National Geographic Channel

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