DAN HARRIS, ABC NEWS It turns out there is one organization trying to influence public opinion on Islam by giving away the Muslim holy book.
This group is not targeting believers, instead they’re trying to get the Koran into the hands of Americans who’ve never seen one before. ABC’s Bill Blakemore has that story.
BILL BLAKEMORE, ABC NEWS The first free Korans are in the-mail, orders taken from anyone who asks by the Washington based Council on American-Islamic Relations. Which says it neither wants nor expects conversions to Islam from it. What they’re asking for is familiarity.
NIHAD AWAD, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS Just to understand where Muslims come from and why the Koran is so important for 1.2 billion people around the world.
BILL BLAKEMORE There’s much, says the director, Americans don’t know about it.
NIHAD AWAD What will be surprising for people to find out in the Koran is how often Jesus Christ and his mother, the Virgin Mary, have been mentioned in the Koran.
BILL BLAKEMORE (VO) Chuck Roth, a Vietnam vet and Methodist placed his order from West Virginia.
CHUCK ROTH, VIETNAM VETERAN I wanted to read it in English for myself and see just what it does say and see if I can understand it.
BILL BLAKEMORE This Protestant in Ohio who was curious says he learned a lot.
ARTHUR ORT, KORAN READER Surprises are that it is not really a book that promotes
violence. Its ultimate world view is peace in a community sense.