After Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, young people in the United States became interested in studying the Koran. Photo/X @AllahGreatQuran
WASHINGTON – There is a phenomenon in the United States (US), where young people are interested in studying the Koran after the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 which triggered a major war in Gaza.
Uniquely, they studied the Muslim holy book not to understand the reasons for the Hamas attack. They do this to understand the extraordinary resilience, faith and moral strength of Palestinian Muslims who are almost relentlessly bombarded by Israel.
Megan B Rice, for example. This young woman likes to read. She started a romance novel club on the instant messaging platform Discord and posts book reviews on TikTok.
Last month Rice, 34 and living in Chicago, used his social media accounts to speak out about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“I want to talk about the faith of the Palestinian people, how strong that faith is, and that they still have room to make gratitude to God a priority, even when everything has been taken from them,” he said, as quoted by The Guardian, Wednesday (29/11/ 2023).
Some of her Muslim followers suggested that Rice might be interested in reading the Koran to gain more context about the faith. So Rice, who didn’t grow up religious, organized a “World Religion Book Club” on Discord, where people from various backgrounds could study the Koran with him.
The more Rice read, the more the content of the texts aligned with her core belief system. He considers the Koran to be anti-consumerist, anti-oppression and feminist. Within a month, Rice said the shahada, Islam’s official confession of faith, bought a hijab to wear, and became a Muslim woman.
Rice is not the only one who wants to study the Koran. On TikTok, young Americans are reading the biblical text to better understand a religion long maligned by Western media, and to show solidarity with the many Muslims in Gaza.
The video with the hashtag “quranbookclub”—which was viewed 1.9 million times on several social media applications—shows users holding the text of the Koran they just bought and reading the verse for the first time. Others find free versions online, or hear someone sing the verses as they drive to work.
Not everyone who reads the Koran on TikTok is female, but the interests overlap with the #BookTok space, a subcommunity where mostly female users gather to discuss books.