Judge rules Muslims: learn Qur’an verses about Jesus, Mary

Three young Lebanese Muslims tried in a Tripoli court on contempt of religion charges for insulting a statue of Our Lady have been found guilty.

Judge Jocelyn Matta ordered them to memorise verses from the holy Qur’an’s Surat Al-Omran. This chapter glorifies Our Lady and Jesus.

One of the verses featured hails the Virgin Mary as one of the most esteemed women in the world.

The Virgin is the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an and she is among only eight people to have a Quranic chapter named after them.

Mary is honoured in several Islamic texts, including the Al-Omran surah, which reads: “And [mention] when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds'”.

Although Islam does not consider Jesus a deity nor the son of God, it holds Christ in high esteem. He is regarded as Prophet Muhammad’s precursor and one of God’s most prominent messengers.

Islam considers Jesus a Messiah. Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad came to complete Jesus’ message, rather than to refute it.

Judge Matta said her sentence aimed to educate the young men on Islam’s reverence for the Virgin Mary. She said she wanted them to learn about Islam’s reverence for the mother of Christ, calling the law ‘a school and not just a prison’.

The sentence was so unexpected it has “gone viral” on social media.

This is because Lebanon has strict religious contempt laws: anyone accused of offending a religion or belief can face up to three years in jail.

Lebanon’s prime minister Saad Hariri said the sentence was the “epitome of justice” and promotes co-existence between Muslims and Christians together through the “teaching of common ideas”.


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