New and Reviewed: Khalidi’s Qur’an Translation, Celeb (Magrhebi) Memoir, and Nazi-to-Arab Propaganda

The Angry Arab News Service lauds the new Qur’an translation done by Tarif Khalidi and now out from Penguin Classics.

First, As’ad AbuKhalil says that the translation is accurate, which is no small feat. Second, he says that the poetic verses come through well. And this backs him up:

(The Quake sura): “When the earth quakes—a shattering quake! And the earth casts up its loads! And man says: ‘What ails it?’ That Day it shall tell its tales, For your Lord will have inspired it!”


Also newly out and reviewed is Abdellah Taia’s memoir, Salvation Army, which examines his life growing up gay in a small Moroccan town. Apparently, Taia is quite a phenom in France.

While reviewer Leila Marshy seems skeptical of any memoir written by someone under…60?, she nonetheless lauds Taia’s straightforward take on his life and small nuggets of wisdom. At the same time, she says the translation sounds oddly flat and Midwestern, with none of the French or Arabic nuance she feels could’ve given it life.


Also, Al Masry Al Youm has an interesting, sometimes-combative interview with Jeffrey Herf, author of Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. Herf attempts to trace the effects of Nazi propaganda on Arab views of Jews and Israel, particularly through the work of Sayyid Qutb and Islamists.

There is an interesting character in Gamal al-Ghitani’s satiric The Zafarani Files (1976) who goes mad and believes he is a general working with Hitler and company to bring (glorious, he thinks) Nazism to the world. Views about Germany and German spies also pop up in Sonallah Ibrahim’s 2007 novel Al Talossos. I’m sure I could come up with more if I gave myself a minute. Someone write a PhD thesis on the topic, please.