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Mon 11 December 2017

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Extracts from The Satanic Verses

The water-carrier Khalid is there, and some sort of bum from Persia by the outlandish name of Salman, and to complete the trinity of scum there is the slave Bilal, the one Mahound freed, an enormous black monster, this one, with a voice to match his size. (p.101)

Mahound comes to me for revelation, asking me to choose between monotheist and henotheist alternatives, and I'm just some idiot actor having a […obscenities removed…] nightmare, what the […obscenities removed…] do I know, yaar, what to tell you, help. Help. (Gibreel, p.109)

In those years Mahound - or should one say the Archangel Gibreel? - should one say Al-Lah? - became obsessed by the law. Amid the palm trees of the oasis Gibreel appeared to the prophet and found himself sprouting 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 […crudities removed … ] 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 may itch. He vetoed the consumption of prawns, those bizarre other-worldly creatures that no member of the faithful had ever seen, and required animals to be killed slowly, by bleeding, so that by experiencing their deaths to the full they might arrive at an understanding of the meaning of their lives.. (364).




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