Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Israeli project helps teach the Qur'an and use the Qur'an as a force for tolerance and peace

Quranet - A bridge between the Islamic world and the West

One of the projects exhibited at the Israeli Presidential Conference in May 2008 was Quranet - an educational tool which reveals the beauty of the Quran and its respect for human dignity.

 At the Israeli Presidential Conference held in May in honor of Israel's 60th Independence Day, 60 projects were selected for an exhibition entitled "Tomorrow's Spaces", presenting new ideas, products and technologies that will help shape the face of tomorrow. One of the projects selected was Quranet - a website in which every person in the world can find a Quranic answer to his/her educational questions.
  • Quranet transforms the Quran into a unique and useful educational tool for parents and teachers, and thereby renders the beneficial power of the Quran widely accessible.
  • Quranet interweaves the Quran, in unprecedented fashion, with modern educational approach, thereby helping the Islamic world and the West to understand each other.
  • Quranet reveals the beauty of the Quran and its respect for human dignity, thereby providing a resounding response to warped exploitation of the Quran for the justification of terror.
  • Since many issues are common to Islamic and Western culture, we aspire to develop Quranet into a social network in various languages, and create communities with shared interests, thus establishing a bidirectional bridge between the two cultures.

How does Quranet work?

The user selects a particular issue from the list of contents, and receives the relevant Quran verse. He or she can then study a brief description of an everyday event, illustrating how the verse can be utilized to convey a message to the child. The session concludes with a brief educational-psychological explanation of the process.
The material has been developed in Hebrew by a group of Bedouin students of education and their lecturer, Dr. Ofer Grosbard. With an introduction by three distinguished sheikhs, it was recently published in book form by Ben Gurion University Publishing House.

How Quranet began

Last year a group of fifteen Bedouin students studying for graduate degrees in educational counseling attended a course on Developmental Psychology given by our lecturer Dr. Ofer Grosbard.

One day I went up to him and said: "May I tell you the truth. What you are teaching us is not going to be of help to us."
"Why do you say that?" Ofer asked.
I said that that when I become an educational counsellor, a parent may come to me one day and say, "A demon has entered into my child" or some similar statement from the same cultural background. "Do you think that what you have taught us here  will be of any use to me then?"
"Then what would he helpful to you?" Ofer asked.
I replied with one word: "The Quran."
He asked me to explain. I said that, in the appropriate context, quotation of a verse from the Quran has enormous impact on Muslims.

Ofer brought a copy of the Quran to our next lesson. He divided the chapters among us and asked us to locate the educational-therapeutic verses. It transpired that there are many of these in the Quran. The verses exhort individuals to take responsibility, learn the truth, respect others etc. Ofer asked us to compose a brief story taken from everyday life for each verse to illustrate how a parent or teacher can utilize the verse to convey a message to the child. Together we collected more than three hundred stories, and Ofer added to each a simple and brief educational-psychological explanation.

That was how Quranet came into being.

See how Quranet works

What happens when we repay evil with good? 
... the one who used to be your enemy may become your best friend (Sura Fussilat, Ayat 34)

Bushra Mazarib - the student who set the project in motion

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