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on 31 July 2014
I am "Koran Curious" in the same way I'm bible curious, Hammurabi code curious, Odin, Ra and Silmarillion and Bagavad Gita curious. CJ Werleman's book is useful and informative but, to my mind, unjustifyably deferential and excuse-offering for a work (the koran) that's poorly crafted from an alleged author (Muhammed) whose footprint in history hasn't been exposed, explained or demonstrated to me yet. That is why I read these works.

CJ's opening narrative of a christian thug's demise, circa 525 CE, merits a little research to sate my curiosity. I'm interested to learn (though I'll research elsewhere to confirm) that literacy amongst Islam's leading clerics' "followers" (if you can't read it, how can you follow it?), internationally, suggests fewer muslims have read the koran than christians have read the bible. However, I have learnt by reading this book: Pegasus gets a mention, paedophilia gets an excuse and death is a valid gift for disbelief - evidnce is stronger than assertion.
If this koran (and haddiths) were the final unalterable word of a universe-creating super genius, you'd imagine that morality would be hugely advanced by it and not etched in solely prophet-contemporary terms that demands unsavoury treatment of those who disagree or simply lack a penis? You'd imagine its delivery would be easilly and reliably forwarded globally - even if that meant the invention of incorruptible blockss and indelible ink for a 7th century printing press?
I can understand and in many ways respect CJ's choice of style for this work. But the koran and Muhammed, like the bible, Popol Vuh, Gilgamesh and Beowolf merit study and report that acknowledges their source as the minds of women and men and children, not entities for which the interested organisations have no evidence or argument.

It's great that folk like CJ, Robert M Price, Ophelia Benson, John Loftus, Hector Avalos and Richard Carrier (whose research along with many others is available on kindle) and Robert Spencer are devoting energies to uncover and analyse in appropriately informed context. Only by exposing ourselves to knowledge of those religions - that claim Truth yet underuse truth in discussions of their histories and supporting evidence - can we see them achieve the societal influence that they deserve, ie: so no legal or tax exemptions, no privileged access to our hospitals, military, homes of government, education, law enforcement or child welfare. No dimunition of animal welfare so that religious tradition can be satisfied by avoidable suffering prior to death.

Yes, please have a read of "Koran Curious" and enjoy it more by not setting your expectations too high. Searching for the facts? This book will help.
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on 21 July 2011
This is an incredibly illuminating read. It doesn't matter if your a Christian, wanting more insight into a fellow religion, an atheist wanting to understand, or a muslim looking for a new take on the Koran.

Throughout 'Koran Curious', CJ Werleman puts Islam's holy book into historical perspective, before dissecting the meaning of each portion into easy to understand sections.

For someone who has completely misunderstood Muslims, I felt that everyone should take a look and realise that they aren't evil terrorists hiding around the corner ready to blow your infidel ass to Hell.

I have to warn readers of Werleman's previous books, this is a large departure from 'God Hates You, Hate Him Back' and 'Jesus Lied'. There are no real scathing critiques of the religion, no pornographic quotes or ribald remarks about the absurdity of faith. This is more of a unbiased presentation of the facts. At first I was surprised by this, as I found it really entertaining in the other books, which uncovered the shocking hypocrisy of outdated religion. CJ is usually very outspoken and unafraid when tackling the problems of belief and the potential immorality hidden within religion.

However, while I think Koran Curious is much more mild and dare I say it, mature, it is infinitely more important in regards to bringing understanding to a place where most of us have failed to look properly. Before you criticise you should understand.

Whether you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim or heathen atheist, there is something to learn in 'Koran Curious'.

Bring on the next portion of CJ Werleman's guides to the world of God!
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on 31 December 2015
If you're curious about the Quran, do not read this awful book. I have just finished it and was astounded by the poor grammar, lack of referencing and factual errors. In fact, it is in large part a cut and paste job from other books and a discredited translation of the Quran itself. It shames the author. But please don't take my word for it. I was absolutely unsurprised to find it has been slated by the scholars who took the time to read it. Example: https://michaelsherlockauthor.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/koran-curious-a-guide-for-infidels-and-believers-by-c-j-werleman-book-review-by-michael-a-sherlock/
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on 15 July 2013
I was hoping to find a guide to the Koran - linking the text with present day beliefs and practices, but all I got was a brief summary of each sura preceded by a rather sketchy and facetious introduction. It's cheap and that's the best I can say about it.
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on 17 August 2013
This is a good summary of the Koran, which it turns out is a really boring and repetitive book. At least the Bible has some interesting stories. Basically you do as you are told and go to heaven (gardens, streams) or you don't and burn in hell (miserable place). Forever. This we are told over and over again in the various Suras or chapters which are summarised in the second half of Koran Curious. Praying is good, so is charity, being gay is definitely a no-no. The first half of Koran Curious is more interesting, being a history of Mohammed and the early years of Islam. Knowing the context helps explain some of the more aggressive passages in the Koran, but it is easy to see how they can be cherry-picked to justify acts of terror in the modern world. As someone who has a moral problem with a God who deals in eternal torture, Islam holds no more appeal to me than Christianity or Judaism. but Koran Curious is written in a non-judgemental way so I guess it would be a good introduction to Islam for both believer and non-believer.
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on 27 June 2013
What a disappointment this book was.. It was poor in every department. A soft soap liberal 'Islam is a religion of Peace' apology. Considering how brutal his critique of God was in his other book.. this was patheic and cowardly in the extreme. If you want a review of Islam or the Koran there are too many which surpass this both in support and in critique. This book is not a critique at all.. it is an apology. It defends Mohammed and the Koran as misunderstood by those of the Islamic faith and those outside it. The misunderstandings are always someone elses fault.. not Mohammed... It was his followers or interpreters who are blamed. In his 'God hates you..' book - which is anti-christian and anti-Judaism - he attacks the vision of God portrayed in the pages... book by book. Here he comes across as a liberal Muslim who wants to portray Mohammed, god and the Koran in a good light. His Sura by Sura review is generally childish note taking. The only good bit was the review of Mohammeds life. 'Lifting the Veil' (I.Q. Al Rassooli ) and 'why I am not a muslim' (Ibn Warraq) are far better critiques. There are many better reviews/introductions to Islam and there are easily much better Koran reviews than his short handed, one phrase, summaries of verses of the Suras. To say I am disappointed is the understatement of my life. I was a christian when I read his 'god hates you'.. with an indepth understanding of the bible from cover to cover and its historical and lingistic background.. and I felt his review though harsh was funny and occassionally enlightening (this book doesn't even have these redeeming factors). I have read the Koran. Compared to the Old Testament it fails to engage the reader except with the constant threats of hell for unbelievers. It totally misunderstands both Judaism and Christianity (based no doubt on Mohammeds experiences of the sects of those religions he bumped into) and it has some dubious sources for its stories in the Suras (for the same reason). It needed a thorough review from someone with a good understanding.. going into the background and the sources of the Suras. It failed to do even this relatively simple thing.. which an adequate Muslim scholar could do. I have read much better introductions. His excuse for not criticising Islam in 'God hates you..' was that he was afraid of the reaction of muslims who might kill him. He has nothing to fear after this book. If I hadn't read his other book I would have assumed he was a liberal muslim with Sunni leanings rather than an apostate and an atheist which he implies in 'God hates you'. His hatred of the god of Judaism and christianity looks pointed when reviewed alongside this apology for the God of Islam. A 'submit to Allah he's not all bad' type book with a hint of Mohammed the misunderstood messenger.. who preached peace and equality but was badly portrayed outside the faithful. I get his point but the book is pathetic and not worth reading. It's not funny and it's not clever.
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on 9 February 2014
An informative read if you know nothing of Islam and wish to educate yourself, could go deeper but religion is complex and he would probably loose you along the way, but it is interesting and will avail you with a working knowledge of the ins and outs of Islamic beliefs. Not as funny or derogatory as his other books on Christianity, but he's an atheist so I guess he has everything to live for in this life believing there isn't another and became risk averse, choosing to educate rather than constructively pull apart.
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on 10 January 2014
If this is the bullet points of the koran, no wonder the extremists are in such a hurry to bail out of this life, tedious and repetitive beond belief, mind numbing.
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on 7 January 2013
This book is very informative and useful to anyone interested in religion generally, and Islam particularly. However it is let down by many iritating grammatical and spelling errors. The test carries many split infinitives and there are countless missing words. Throughout the book the adjective "worst" is used where "worse" is obvilously meant.
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on 21 February 2013
Werleman thinks Muhammad and the Koran were using the morals of the Beduoin tribes not good today.
For each sora there is a list of subtitles, mostly not showing what the soras actually say and sometimes quite wrong in meaning. This could calm negative views of Islam or encourage people to learn more, or both.
Nearly a quarter of the book is about the whole life of Muhammad. In it he is praised both for being a caring person early on and also for later being a warlord killing people who did not convert. Werleman goes into great detail about how Muhammad appeared, thought and spoke and his gestures and emotions. Maybe he got it from published biographies but this is all hearsay or conjecture because the first biography was not published until until 150 years or six generations after Muhammad's death and long before printing existed. More detailed biographies came even later.
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