The Irish Times, Mar. 11, 2003
The Islamic holy book, the Koran, is to be translated into Irish. Ms Leslie Carter, of the Islamic Cultural Centre, in Clonskeagh, Dublin, said yesterday the project was at an early stage but would “definitely happen”.
There were Irish speakers among the Muslim community here who wanted an Irish-language version of the Koran, she said. “We think it’s very important to bring the Irish language more into everyday life. There’s a lot in common between the Irish and the Islamic way of looking at life.”
There are about 18,000 Muslims in the State, almost 12,000 of them in Dublin. The Islamic community is the fastest-growing religious minority in the State.
Ms Carter said the centre was establishing a research committee to oversee the project, which would be chaired by Mr Mirza Sayeigh, of the Al-Maktoum Foundation in Dubai. The Islamic Cultural Centre and mosque were founded by Mr Hamdan Al-Maktoum in October 1996.
“Mr Sayeigh is very eager to see the Koran translated into Irish,” said Ms Carter. “He’s very supportive. So we are waiting for him to be able to come over from Dubai to chair the research committee. It’s going to be a very big job.”
The translation would be directly from Arabic into Irish, she continued, “because when you go from Arabic into English you lose something. We don’t want to lose too much”. It is expected the centre will be helped in the project by Foras na Gaeilge.
Mr Eamon Ó Hargain, director of development services at Foras, pointed out that the organisation had just completed a successful collaboration with the centre in translating its 200-page handbook into Irish.
“There have been some discussion and expressions of interest in the idea of translating the Koran into Irish, and we would be delighted to work with them in any way we can,” he said.
Foras na Gaeilge, a North-South body established under the Belfast Agreement to promote the Irish language, is mandated to assist organisations with such major works of translation.