The Fractured Nation Interviews
Maude Elisabeth Barnstone
Praise the Lord and Slap the Wife
Maude: Run-ins! More like attempted murder, and I have the shrapnel to prove it. All because of an article called Praise the Lord and Slap the Wife I wrote for WOW magazine concerning that verse in the Koran about beating your wife if she has sinned or you fear she will sin.
Johnny: I didn’t read the article you wrote for the magazine Women-on-Women but I am familiar with its content. I also remember that you ended up in court after it was published, accused of spreading hate.
Maude: Yes, those wonderful hate laws, a legacy of those moronic Canadian politicians that threaten prosecution, crippling fines, even jail to anyone who dares voice even a mild criticism of some backwoods tradition or religious excess. See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, a Canadian tradition that allowed evil to grow unchallenged.
Johnny: Evil to grow unchallenged! That’s a strong statement. Who or what do you consider evil?
Maude: [getting upset] That guy who accidentally blew himself up killing a bunch of innocent people while he waited for me to leave the court house was not a saint. HE WAS EVIL! The imams who encourage self-immolation while blowing to bits the innocent, women and children ARE EVIL! Not to be allowed to question the values of a religion that encourages such barbaric practices and to be dragged into court if you do is ABETTING EVIL, encouraging it to grow and spread and it is absurd.
Johnny: [taken aback] Okay. Getting back to your article Praise the Lord and Slap the Wife for just a minute before we return to discussing The Fracture; you did say, in that article, some pretty nasty things about the Prophet Muhammad and that statement about the Koran not being the word of God, an article of faith for Muslims.
Maude: All I said was that no God would advocate beating women for no reason, for any reason, so therefore the Koran could not be the word of God.
Johnny: For Muslims those are fighting words. Didn’t you realise that under Islamic law and traditions stating that the Koran is not the word of God is an offence punishable by death?
Maude: What else is new in this new upside-down world we live in? Tell me something I don’t know.
Johnny: Yet, in the face of such frightening retribution, you persist in publicly expressing your doubts that the Koran is the word of God and ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad.
Maude: I am not ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad. At worst, I am satirizing him, which is perfectly acceptable and highly regarded in Western literature.
Johnny: Yes, but not in Islamic literature.
Maude: Obviously, but that should not be my problem.
Johnny: Calling the Prophet Muhammad a dirty old man. Wasn’t that taking things a bit far?
Maude: Unlike most religious claims, there is historical evidence, though only circumstantial that Islam’s treatment of women comes from Muhammad-The-First discovering sex with young women and girls at a time when they would have found him less than appealing because of the age difference and he had to find a way to control them.
Johnny: Muhammad-the-First??? Where did that come from?
Maude: Muhammad or Mohammad is the most common boys name on the planet. It is to differentiate [making quotes in the air again] “The Prophet” from all the Muhammads and Mohammads that came after.
Johnny: Please, if you are going to refer to the Messenger of God, please show some respect by calling him the Prophet Muhammad and not this other name. I am already in enough trouble with my Muslim audience.
Maude: Why not? [sarcastically] I really would not want to get you into trouble with your Muslim audience, it’s not a good thing, let me tell you, and I’ve got the shrapnel to prove it.
Johnny: Yes, you already mentioned that. I must admit I am a little taken aback here by what I perceive as your lack of respect for Islam.
Maude: Islam, as Canadian author Irshad Manji wrote in The Trouble With Islam, is a religion that was not allowed to out-grow its desert roots and it is the desert variety of this religion for which I have little or no respect.
Johnny: I don’t like where this is heading. I already assured my Muslim viewers that I was not anti-Muslim and I think if we don’t get back to tonight’s topic, Canada and The Fracture, they will have reason to doubt my sincerity.
Maude: [getting angry] Canada, if it were still around, could kiss my ass. Really, Johnny, you’re a real wimp! In Afghanistan women are again being shot for appearing in public unveiled or dowsing themselves in kerosene and lighting a match, preferring a gruesome death to a life confined in the prison that Muslim men call their home. Women all over the world are being oppressed like never before and all you can say is “don’t say anything that might offend my Muslim viewers.” And you call yourself the “stronger sex”. BULLSHIT!
Johnny: I’m sorry, but you knew what the subject of tonight’s show was before you accepted the invitation.
Maude: Look, I will get back to [again making quotes in the air] “The Fracture” but what I have to say about the man most responsible for women’s oppression is also important and it is even more important today with the foundation and growth of that un-holy alliance, what did you call it, the HAMM alliance?
Johnny: Holly Alliance of Muslim Municipalities. Calling them what you just said was a mistake.
Maude: Mistake or no mistake this HAMM thing is using the Islamic Republic of Iran as a model on how women should be treated and that is bad, really really bad.
Johnny: I understand your frustration but it’s off topic!
Maude: OFF TOPIC! Where have you been! It’s not off topic, not off topic at all! Many of these women are former Canadian citizens who had no choice in the matter. Overnight, their home became their prison; their former home being within the boundaries of this un-holy HAMM alliance. Why am I spelling it out for you? You’re not a child, you are well informed, you know what’s going on.
Maude: This is ridiculous. Maybe I should just leave [making like she’s about to get up].
Johnny: Please don’t. Say what you have to say. I’m sure my Muslim viewers will understand, but if you could try to be brief so we can return to a more general discussion on this week’s topic.
Maude: Thank you. I will try to be brief and if anyone shows up at your door after the show to blow your brains out for anything I’ve said, I will give you my address so you can send them over to my place.
Johnny: Please, be serious.
Maude: I am being serious!
Johnny: Please finish your story about Praise the Lord and Slap the Wife so we can get on with talking about The Fracture.
Maude: Where did we leave off?