There has been some media attention concerning the leaves of an early Quranic manuscript discovered among the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts in the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library.
Believed to date somewhere between 568 and 645, we are told that it is among the oldest Quran manuscripts in our possession. The story made the rounds in all the national media, including the BBC and CNN, and even made the front page of The New York Times. David Thomas, the University of Birmingham’s expert on Islam, was quoted in the BBC proclaiming: The person who actually wrote it could well have known the Prophet Muhammad. He would have seen him probably, he would maybe have heard him preach. He may have known him personally — and that really is quite a thought to conjure with.So a parallel to what all those Green Scholars and their US mummy-mask dissolving hangers-on want from their papyrus trophies - to get back to a document as close to the time of writing of the Scriptures to confirm ... well, something or other.
Now the story is breaking that this manuscript is (allegedly) so old that the text predates Mohammed. This however is based on nothing more than a total ignorance of the people propounding it of what radiocarbon dating results can be and cannot be used do (what they say and what they do not say). These folk should leave the interpretation of such data to those who do understand its workings. The sad thing is these pseudo-historical interpretations (for that is what we are getting) are being misquoted as 'authorities' to undermine Islam. And that results from the sort of ideological intolerance that we so deplore when it is manifest in certain areas of militant Islam and other religions.