The Electric Commentary

Friday, September 01, 2006

Why is there a Fatwah on Salman Rushdie?

Here's an excerpt from The Satanic Verses:

The faithful lived by lawlessness, but in those years Mahound - or should one say the Archangel Gibreel? - should one say Al-Lah? - became obsessed by law. Amid the palm-trees of the oasis Gibreel appeared to the Prophet and found himself spouting rules, rules, rules, until the faithful could scarcely bear the prospect of any more revelation, Salman said, rules about every damn thing, if a man farts let him turn his face to the wind, a rule about which hand to use for the purpose of cleaning one's behind. It was as if no aspect of human existence was to be left unregulated, free. The revelation - the recitation - told the faithful how much to eat, how deeply they should sleep, and which sexual positions had received divine sanction, so that they learned that sodomy and the missionary position were approved of by the archangel, whereas forbidden postures included all those in which the female was on top. Gibreel further listed the permitted and forbidden subjects of conversation and earmarked the parts of the body which could not be scratched no matter how unbearably they might itch...

so how excessively convenient it was that he should have come up with such a very businesslike archangel, who handed down the management decisions of this highly corporate, if non-corporeal, God.


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