THE Gideons in Germany give away 2,000 Bibles a day and nobody
complains. The Koran is another matter. A group called the True Religion
has handed out 300,000 copies, many from “information stands” in
shopping areas. All told, it wants to give away 25m in German-speaking
Europe. Intelligence agencies are alarmed; politicians have condemned
the plan. The printing firm has even cancelled its contract. “The public
pressure was too great,” it explained.
The problem, critics say, is not the gift but the giver. The True
Religion espouses Salafism, a fundamentalist branch of Islam. Its leader
is Ibrahim Abu Nagie, a Palestinian-born, Cologne-based preacher with
intolerant views and a knack for getting others to embrace them. The
Cologne prosecutor wanted to try him for inciting violence against
Christians and Jews but could prove nothing worse than predictions that
they would end in hell. The case was dropped in January.
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