Koran to be translated into Irish

2003 April 28
Koran to be translated into Irish

Islam's holy book, the Koran, is to be translated into Irish in an ambitious project aimed at bringing Ireland's Gaelic-speaking and Muslim communities closer together, organisers say.

Lesley Carter of the Dublin-based Islamic Cultural Centre, which will oversee the project, said on Tuesday the translation would benefit Irish-speakers from both cultures.

"There are a number of Muslims among the Irish-speaking community -people who were born or reared here and learned Irish in school. And also for those (non-Muslims) who have an interest in Islam then the Koran will be available in the language they prefer," she said.

The Islamic community is currently the fastest-growing religious minority in Ireland, with around 18,000 Muslims living in the country
most of them in the capital Dublin.

While the learning of Gaelic is compulsory in Irish schools, official figures estimate only around 70,000 people speak the language on a daily basis out of a population of nearly four million.

Carter acknowledged the plan could be problematic.

"It's an absolutely huge job. The difficult part will be getting translators, because we need people who have good Arabic and good Irish. We're doing it direct from Arabic to Irish -rather than from English- so we don't lose too much in translation," she said.

"It could take a few years, but no matter how long it takes, we'll get it done."

Mirza Sayeigh, chairman of the Dubai-based Al-Maktoum Foundation which set up the Islamic Cultural Centre and a mosque in Dublin in 1996, would travel to Ireland to head a research committee on the project shortly, Carter added.

Further information: The Irish Time.