…look at the pseudo-Qur’an that has become such a mainstay of anti-Islamic activism. Internet activists regularly quote Qur’anic passages to characterize the whole Islamic faith as rooted in hatred, terror and violence, and specifically a brutal anti-Semitism. Far from being the incidental deviations of modern-day traitors to the faith, they suggest, such atrocities are entirely rooted in its most fundamental scripture, in words allegedly delivered by God himself.
The problem, though, is that the texts usually cited are spurious. Either they do not occur at all in the Qur’an, or else they are quoted in a sense radically different from their actual meaning. Just how these pseudo-texts came into being is mysterious. In some cases, activists might have invented them wholesale, while later readers pass them on in the sincere belief that they are authentic. Alternatively, perhaps genuine passages were perverted in the course of transmission. Whatever explanation we choose, there is no reason to suggest that individuals citing the alleged passages are conscious of any kind of deception: they are telling the truth as they understand it. Unintentionally, though, they are peddling harmful misinformation.