BELOW IS AN email conversation I had with a reader of Citizen Warrior. This exchange is about a minor issue — how to spell "Quran." But it points to a bigger issue: Whether we are trying to appeal to (and hopefully reach and influence) people who don't already know about Islam's prime directive, or whether we are merely trying to appeal to each other.
At Citizen Warrior, we have been spelling the word "Quran" with a Q, rather than "Koran" with a K. The first email of the exchange said simply:
I never spell Koran with a "Q"...that is the preferred Muslim spelling.
I prefer the preferred Muslim spelling. I am hoping to reach and inform people who "respect all religions" (multiculturalists — people who don't yet know much about Islam) so starting out with something deliberately disrespectful seems to me to be counterproductive.
If we were only speaking with each other, I would spell it however you like to spell it. But since many people have told me over the years that they share my articles with people they are hoping to influence, I try to keep it respectful. I never spell Muslims "Mooslims" or Muzzies or do anything else that would immediately stop a multiculturalist from reading. Those are the people we need to reach. Everybody else already "gets it."
How long do you think we have until they overrun our system of law? The Muslims have declared they are at war with us...I do not think that placating them in any way works...George W. Bush tried to tell us all that there are moderate Muslims but this is hogwash (no pun intended.)
I'm not trying to placate Muslims. I am trying to reach non-Muslims who don't know about Islam. This is a rule of basic public relations: Do not offend the person you are trying to reach. I have no interest in reaching Muslims. I don't care whether they like what I say or not. But many educated people know that Muslims prefer the word Quran spelled with a Q and they believe that spelling it with a K is what "Islamophobic bigots" do, and they just won't read something by such a person.
This is one of the most difficult points to get across to many people who want to do something about Islam: They don't understand that if they are a self-righteous zealot who just "speaks the truth and people's politically-correct sensitivities be damned" then the only people who will listen are those who already agree with them. If they want to reach the rest of the non-Muslims, they'll have to stop offending them every time they open their mouths.
I'm not saying you're a zealot. I'm using an extreme example to help make my point. This message is hard to get across to some people in the counterjihad movement, but I think it is an extremely important point, and it's one of the biggest things preventing us from bringing more non-Muslims to our cause.
I think our situation is urgent. We need to reach as many people as possible, in the shortest time possible. I believe spelling "Quran" with a Q helps us with that purpose and spelling it with a K hinders us.
If you are trying to reach non-Muslims, they usually spell the Koran K-o-r-a-n...
If you are trying to reach the educated non-Muslims, like me, they will usually know that Muslims prefer the spelling Qu'ran. You may lose them because they think you are placating Muslims spelling it that way....or being politically correct....
People today who are busy and educated do not have time to waste reading politically correct versions of Islam, so they rule yours out right away...why not ask and do a survey on it if you doubt what I am saying...ask people their relative awareness about the spelling, and their educational background.
You're kind of proving my point. While it's true that people who are already educated about Islam do not want to read politically-correct versions of Islam, those aren't the people I am trying to influence. My goal is to increase the number of people who are on our side. And the people I am trying to reach (those who don't know anything about Islam) would not read something that is blatantly or defiantly politically-incorrect. They are pretty sensitive to anything that smacks of prejudice, and they're looking for any excuse not to read something that runs counter to what they already know.
People like you already know. You don't need to be educated about Islam. You don't need to be reached. You're already on our side. It's okay if I "lose" you. I'm not really losing you, after all. You're still in the Resistance. You have not been turned away from the counterjihad; you've merely been turned away from Citizen Warrior.
My point is that the educated people you say you are trying to reach are the ones who would not know the difference between Koran and Quran...the ones who do have already decided their stance...whether educated correctly or not.
There is no reason to spell it the way Muslims prefer.
That is an interesting point, and might be worth considering: If people don't understand Islam's prime directive, they may not know the preferred Muslim spelling of the Koran, so they wouldn't be turned away by the information, so I might as well spell it with a K.
As I was pondering this, I realized that a lot of multiculturalists actually read a lot about Islam; but what they're reading is the PC version — the wishful-thinking version from mainstream news sources. So I thought I would find out how those news sources spell "Koran," and I decided to spell it however they spell it most often.
I decided to test the New York Times and the LA Times, as representatives of mainstream politically-correct news sources. Readers of these newspapers are the people, I believe, who would be most likely to be ignorant about Islam and yet feel informed. Those are the people I want us to educate (starting first with the undecideds). The point of view about Islam represented in the NYT and LAT is the standard, mainstream point of view about Islam. The people who read those newspapers have seen the word "Koran" (or "Quran") many times. The question is, when they see the word, how do they see it spelled by the sources they respect?
The reason I want to spell it the same way as the NYT and LAT is so my writings are not prematurely dismissed by readers of these sources because of their preconceived conclusion that I am a Muslim-hating Islamophobic bigot.
So I went to the NYT and LAT and searched the two spellings. And I discovered the opposite of what I expected. In the LAT, it was spelled "Quran" 223 times and "Koran" 333 times. In the NYT it was spelled "Quran" 292 times and "Koran" 4,060 times! Just for a contrast, I did the same search in the Wall Street Journal. They did just the opposite: It was spelled "Quran" 504 times and "Koran" 236 times.
So from now on I'm going to spell it with a K. That's what NYT readers are used to. They won't feel it is insulting to Muslims. They won't turn away from my writings. So although I'm doing it for a different reason than you proposed, I am grateful to you for motivating me to looking into it.
As a follow up to this conversation, I found a question and answer session with Merrill Perlman, the head copy editor of the New York Times. Someone asked why the NYT spells it "Koran" instead of "Quran" since the Arab world prefers "Quran." Perlman answered that the NYT's "overall guideline is to refer to our dictionary of choice, Webster’s New World College Dictionary, when it deals with the subject. W.N.W. prefers Koran, and so we do as well. The Associated Press, whose style governs many publications, uses Quran."