Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice
The Koran by topic, explained in a way we can all understand
Paperback: 828 pages. Comprehensive Index.
If what you are looking for is a quick and complete reference to what Allah
revealed to Muhammad in His Koran, or a coffee table type of book that is
bound to spark a spirited discussion about a timely topic, then look no
further than Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice.
I’ve just finished reading Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice by the Canadian scholar (sic) Bernard Payeur
[and Lucette Carpentier], and the book is exactly what it’s touted to
be: “everything you’ve always known about the Koran, and more, explained in a way we can all understand”.
Mr. Payeur’s original field is not Islamic studies, so he approaches his task as an intelligent outsider. The result is
a thorough and comprehensive view of what the Koran actually says.
In addition to the Koran itself, the author has read the hadiths and various commentaries by Muslim theologians, so the book
reflects the established Islamic institutional understanding of what Islam’s holy book means.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book for me was putting it in a historical context when describing the life of Mohammed and how this could
have affected the writing of the Koran.
Brings order to chaos.
Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice may be too cumbersome or expensive for some, even as a paperback,
which is why it has been broken up into
six smaller books, all priced under $18.00.
Let Me Rephrase That!
Your Layman's Guide to Abrogations
Paperback, 204 pages.
16:101 And if We replace a verse by another – and Allah knows best what He reveals – they say: “You [Muhammad] are only a
forger.” Surely, most of them do not know.
Knowing what more than 200 revealed truths (immutable facts communicated to a mortal by a god) an assumed omniscient deity
replaced or abolished i.e. abrogated, as inconceivable as that may seem, is essential to understanding the ultimate Message of the Koran.
Cover art is a rendition of a picture of George Burns from a poster for the 1977 Warner Bros. film "Oh, God!". Like the movie, I
hope you will consider Let Me Rephrase That! a mildly
irreverent but never gratuitous treatment of a reverential figure.
Kids and The Koran
Children and The Koran
The End of Empathy
Paperback, 186 pages
A lack of empathy, whether it be an instilled pathology or a manifestation of
loyalty to one’s tribe which successive governments and our courts have
encouraged by favoring religious distinctiveness over shared secular values,
means we can no longer count that love of country or respect for Western
civilization and what it stands for will see us through.
The threat that an absence of empathy and tribalism poses can be
significantly reduced if we diminish the hate-that-binds; if we stop a god’s
pathological loathing for those who believe he is a figment of a man’s
imagination from corrupting innocence by making the Koran for adults only.
By having you read what children who should be enjoying Babar the
Elephant or Cinderella are reading, I hope to convince you to try to do just
that—for their sake, and ours.
Teach Your Children Well
The future as a truism and a cliché
Paperback, 87 pages
It is both a truism and a cliché that children are the
future. Where that future will be shaped is in the classroom.
Teach Your Children Well looks at the long
term implications of reintroducing the teaching of religion in the public
school system, and the granting of exceptions to the general curriculum for
religious reason In Canada, with the Province of Québec leading the way, a
secular public school education is being sacrificed to accommodate a
religion which considers schooling where its revealed scriptures are not given precedence as blasphemous.
Can two incompatible value systems be accommodated within
the public school system and the inevitable clash between reason and
unreason avoided? Will the politics of accommodation lead to peaceful
co-existence, or simply allow Islam to recruit in a place that was previously off limits?
1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet Muhammad
Paperback, 440 pages.
Islam is not so much a religion as a way of life with thousands of indelible
rules which instruct every waking moment of a believer’s existence.
First, there are God's revealed rules, those of the Koran which we have
talked about in Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice; and then
there are the hadiths (or Hadith, in English academic usage hadith is often
both singular and plural), the sayings and example i.e. deeds of the Prophet
For fundamentalists, the Koran and the hadiths
define what is Islamic law and is all
you need to know about the nature of your existence and how to lead a
In learning about the hadiths, you will also get acquainted with the real
Muhammad as his closest friends and his child-bride Aisha
If Islam was explained to me in a pub
Paperback, 452 pages.
Remembering Uzza is meant to make learning about Islam a mostly pleasant experience while not sugar-coating or
leaving out the nasty bits. And, is there a better place to get acquainted with a religion that has everyone talking then in the relaxed
atmosphere of a favourite pub in the company of friends and a troubled but engaging young woman to give you an insider's perspective
The name Uzza is from al-Uzza ("al" before the name means "the"), the
Arab Venus and the most revered of all their goddesses. Pre-Islamic Arabs
worshipped al-Uzza, along with al-Lat and Manat who they believed to be the
daughters of Allah.
Uzza is a story for our time that has the potential to change the course
of things to come. Except for Uzza, and a short appearance by a couple from
a neighbouring municipality, all other characters, including Archie the
bartender, are modeled on real patrons of a once popular Ottawa nightspot.
To keep the conversation between Uzza, Johnny, Gerry, Bob and Archie as
unaffected as possible, implicit and explicit references to verses of the
Koran and the sayings and actions of the Prophet are explained in a
substantial supplement of endnotes.
September 1, 2019
Alice Visits a Mosque to Learn About Judgment Day
Paperback: 80 pages
The dialogue is made up, but the revelations are real, as are the sayings of
the Prophet Muhammad. The character of Alice only bears a remote resemblance to
the heroine of Lewis Carroll's tale of a young girl "who falls down a rabbit
hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures."
Alice visits a Mosque to learn about Judgement Day is a short, often
brutal play/script (it could not be otherwise) about an important concept in
Islam on which the Koran expounds at length.
Alice is not meant to offend but to enlighten. It is both a play and an
invitation to learn more about the Koran and the Prophet. We hope you will
read it (or see it if it ever makes it to the stage or the screen) in the
spirit it was written.
Canada - The Fractured Nation Interviews
An Inquiry Into The Breakup
Paperback, 228 pages
2006 nominee for The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.
Imagine a world where Canada is just a memory. Imagine that the breakup
of Canada has been a reality for almost ten years.
How did Canada’s demise come about? What has happened since Canada
disappeared from history, and what do former Canadians have to say about the
country that is no more.
Between a Pillar and a Hard Place
Paperback, 274 pages
"We in the West find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still inflame
the minds of men, stirring up messianic passions that can leave societies in
ruin. We had assumed that this was no longer possible, that human beings had
learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that political
theology died in 16th-century Europe. We were wrong.
"After centuries of strife, the West has learned to separate religion and
politics – to establish the legitimacy of its leaders without referring to
divine command. There is little reason to expect the rest of the world – the
Islamic world in particular – will follow."
Mark Lilla, professor of the humanities at Columbia University in The
Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West (2007)
If you are going to read one book on Islam, make it Between a
Pillar and a Hard Place. In mostly short,
easy-to-read, to-the-point essays, I touch upon everything you need to know about
the implications of being wrong.
Paperback, 432 pages
A commemorative recreation on paper of comments, articles and extracts of a watershed year when headlines
and scriptures came together like at no other time since boreal.ca went live in April of 2003.
A Personal Journey
Shooting the Messenger
A Whistleblower's Tale
A statement about politics, morality and ethics in government with the Canadian Foreign Service as the erstwhile
Paperback, 187 pages
One of my first memories is of a man crying. I had played with the crying
man's son in a sandbox that afternoon. It was not a real sand box, just a
pile of sand dumped in the middle of a muddy driveway. The boy's father, who
was in the gravel hauling business, came home at the end of the day, unaware
that his son was still playing on the pile of sand, and drove over him.
I was standing in front of the open coffin admiring how good he looked in
his tidy little suit and tie, his black hair combed back all slick and
shiny, when the tiny box started rocking back and forth and a voice started
I looked up and noticed a man with his hands resting on the open end of
the coffin, jerking it back and forth and yelling “wake up, you're not dead,
wake up!” (Réveilles toé, t’es pas mort, réveilles toé) over and over again.
The man was crying, with big tears running down his face. It was the first
time I had seen a grown man cry. I promised myself I would never do that
when I got older.
I did not cry when, maybe seven years later, I suffered a similar fate to
my childhood friend — crushed under a giant wheel. This near death
experience would serve to remind me, later in life that we are not here just
to occupy space; that we are here for a reason and not just “to live well”,
to quote George Herbert [1593-1633].
It's not that I don't get all emotional; an unexpected kindness can bring
on the outset of tears, but disappointments only a brief sadness that rarely
lasts very long. I am easily disappointed, not easily discouraged as the
books that came after can attest.
Boreal Books® is a registered trademark of Bernard Payeur