We currently live in turbulent times, when the people are quick to judge against each other, actions are carried out without thought and every day there are a number of news stories on bombings and shootings in the name of religion.
The most ‘convenient’ target for the world, the fight against terrorism, has been, and continues to be, Islam and its teachings. Statements from terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) have made things worse. After the attack in Paris, two guys from the Netherlands — Sacha Harland and Alexander Spoor — decided to run an experiment. As an on-ground report, the duo went about quoting passages from a holy book, recording people’s reaction. The end is most fascinating.
This is what they had to say as an introduction to their experiment: “Islam has been under huge scrutiny lately and is often criticised for being an aggressive religion… but what about Christianity? In this video, we disguised a Bible as a Quran and read some of its most gruesome verses to the people. This is what they had to say.”
The duo quoted passages like, “If you reject my commands and abhor my laws, you will eat the flesh of your own sons, and the flesh of your own daughters”, “I will not allow for a woman to teach… you will have to cut off her hands”, among others.
The participants, unaware that the book being quoted is actually the Bible, react very strongly, with one saying, “How could one believe in this? That’s unbelievable to me.” Comparing the Bible and the Quran, one man said, “The Bible is a lot less harsh and a bit more peaceful.” When the truth was revealed, most stepped back in shock, unable to digest the news that the very ‘Western’ religion they belonged to actually propounded these teachings.
One man actually went ahead to acknowledge, “It’s all prejudice really. I try not to be prejudiced myself but apparently I already am.”
The video, ‘The Holy Quran Experiment’, has been viewed over 2.5 million times since it was uploaded on December 4, 2015.
This is not the first time they’ve done an experiment like this under the Youtube channel Dit Is Normaal. Every week the duo “travel to a city in the Netherlands and ask its citizens the most challenging, interesting, strange questions”.
How do people perceive Bible verses if they think they’re coming from the Quran?
Dutch YouTube duo Dit Is Normaal decided to conducted a social experiment following the attacks in Paris to dispel misconceptions about Islam. They disguised a Bible as a Quran, and then went out onto the streets of the Netherlands to ask people about certain verses from it.
The pair chose specific Biblical passages that are far out of touch with modern Western culture, and they read them out loud to passerby, pretending they were reading from the Quran. People said the readings were “aggressive,” while they described the Bible as “more peaceful” and “positive.” The shock was palpable when they found out the verses they had just heard were actually part of the Christian holy text.
“Our experiment was a way to highlight our prejudice as a society about Islam, one that has been fed to us through mass media over the past couple of years,” Alexander Spoor of Dit Is Normaal wrote to The Huffington Post in an email Monday. “The responses we got from the people on the streets were interesting, but not surprising. The outcome of this experiment pretty much proved our hypothesis to be correct. The responses we’ve been getting from people online are slightly surprising, though. We’ve received so many messages of thankfulness from Muslims from all over the world for making this video. It’s been quite incredible.”