An Iranian watchdog overseeing publications of the Muslim holy book has criticized the poor quality of “smuggled” copies of the Quran printed in China, the governmental Iran daily reported Tuesday.
“Most of these books are smuggled, and illegally enter the country,” said Ahmad Haji Sharif, an official with the watchdog, Dar al-Quran Organization.
“The low cost of printing in China has tempted some publishers to have their Qurans published there, but these (copies) of the holy book mainly contain spelling mistakes and have not been validated,” added Haji Sharif, whose organization also grants publication rights for printing Qurans.
He did not specify whether he was referring to Iranian publishers or printing houses in other countries.
The official said his organization was working with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to take the books off the market, describing the task as “cumbersome and time-consuming.”
His comments come after recent media reports charging that careless mistakes were rife in copies of the Chinese made Qurans.
Haji Sharif said there were also “glaring mistakes” involving accents, which when misplaced could change the meaning of a word in Arabic, and the Islamic phrase “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” (In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful).
In decorative frames with calligraphed suras –chapters of the Quran –the phrase was printed in the middle of the verses rather than at the beginning of it.
The Quran is taught at all of the educational levels of the Iranian school system, and university students must pass mandatory courses on the holy book.
The memorization of the Quran and reciting ceremonies are widely held and promoted in the Islamic republic, where the copies of the holy book contain the Persian translation alongside the Arabic verses.
Beijing and Tehran have become major economic partners in recent years, with many Chinese manufactured goods finding their way into Iranian markets.
However, local media has constantly the low-quality of Chinese imported goods.