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The World's Most Powerful Book?

4:28 PM, Dec 28, 2007 • By ULF GARTZKE
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The folks at Der Spiegel, Germany's leading weekly newsmagazine, displayed a remarkable lack of judgment and timing in picking "The Koran: The World's Most Powerful Book" as their cover story right before Christmas. While it is certainly true that the world's most dangerous terrorists as well as their growing base of radical sympathizers feel inspired by the Koran's radical interpretations, this does not necessarily turn it into the world's "most powerful" book.

Furthermore, the timing of the article's publication just days before Christmas (which is Christianity's second most important religious feast) could easily be misinterpreted as a declaration of surrender or appeasement by Europe's biggest news magazine. It does not make much of a difference that Dutch author Leon de Winter, who wrote an essay about Muslims in Europe as part of Der Spiegel's cover story, comes to this rather bold conclusion:

Some social scientists are warning of the dawn of "Eurabia", i.e. an Islamized Europe. In fact, everything points in the opposite direction: Europe is not being Islamized, but Islam is being Europeanized.

De Winter, unfortunately, fails to back up his wishful-thinking scenario with hard facts. However, by describing the Koran as the world's most powerful book, Der Spiegel certainly hedged its bets and at least made sure that it would not be attacked by Muslims, verbally or otherwise, the way that Jyllands-Posten was in the wake of the 2005 Danish cartoon controversy. In fact, a cursory look at recent Internet chat room discussions about the article among German-speaking Muslims indicate a great deal of surprise that such a "left-wing magazine," which some users suspected of "Jewish connections," would publish such an article in the first place. We're surprised, too, but for different reasons.