Arabs Start Push to Deliver Thousands of Korans to Brazilian Elite

The version of the Koran in Portuguese, translated by professor Helmi Mohammed Ibraim Nasr, was delivered to the São Paulo Trade Association and the São Paulo State University (Unesp) this week.

Nasr and the president of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Antonio Sarkis Jr., delivered copies of the holy book to representatives of the two institutions.

On Tuesday, May 30, the Foreign Trade manager at the Trade Association, Sydnei Docal, and the superintendent for Communications at the entity, Moisés Rabinovici, received the copies.

At Unesp, the holy book was delivered on Wednesday, May 31, to the dean Marcos Macari, accompanied by other professionals at the institution. On the previous week, the Koran was delivered at the São Paulo City Council and at the magazine Carta Capital.

Nasr is the vice-president for International Relations at the Arab Chamber and professor at the University of São Paulo (USP). The translation, the only one in Portuguese printed at the King Fahd Complex, in Medina, Saudi Arabia, was launched in Brazil in October last year and since then some 4,200 copies have already been delivered to the country, which are being distributed.

Earlier this month, 70 copies of the translation of Islam’s holy book into Portuguese were delivered  to the councilmen of the city of São Paulo.

Helmi, who is a professor at the University of São Paulo (USP) and vice-president for International Relations at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, was at the City Council in São Paulo on May 24,  together with the president of the Arab Chamber, Antonio Sarkis Jr., to hand out the Koran. The president of the City Council, Roberto Tripoli, received the 70 copies, in the name of his colleagues.

Due to the great interest in the holy book, the Saudi Arabian embassy and the Arab Brazilian Chamber have asked for another 22,000 copies. The Koran is distributed for free, according to the Islamic tradition.

Professor Helmi is in charge of ensuring the translation reaches the mosques, means of communications, teaching institutes, as well as other organizations and officials in the country.

At the City Council, Helmi was invited to give a speech after distributing the Koran. The Koran was also taken to the director of the magazine Carta Capital, Mino Carta. On the agenda are visits to deliver the holy book also to the University of Campinas (Unicamp), to television station Rede Bandeirantes and to newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.


According to Helmi, the version is being very well received by Brazilians. "People read it and say: but it has the Old Testament, the New Testament (in the Koran)," says the professor, telling of the readers’ surprise.

The Koran registers the story of the Old Testament, followed by Catholicism and Judaism, and also the life of Jesus Christ, followed by Catholics. As well as that there are other revelations received by the prophet Mohammed from God through the archangel Gabriel. "It is the third divine book," states Helmi.

The Koran translated by the professor has the text in Arabic and also in Portuguese. The version is acknowledged by the World Islamic League and is printed in the place were the versions of the holy book considered legitimate, by the League’s criteria, are made.

The King Fahd Complex has printed the Koran in 40 languages to this day. The translation by Helmi, who is Egyptian but has been living in Brazil since the 1960s, was made directly from the Arabic. The translation took four years to be done and the revision 16 years.

Nasr also published, last year, the first Arabic-Portuguese dictionary. The edition was made by the Arab Chamber and distributed in Brazil. He was responsible also for the translation into Arabic of the book "Novo Mundo nos Trópicos" ("New World in the Tropics"), by the sociologist Gilberto Freyre, from the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, which is being distributed in the Arab world.

Anba –



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