If Nevada ever wants an alternative to lethal injection, this method of killing surely has the Vegas touch
I'm currently reading Heaven On Earth: A Journey Through Sharia Law by Sadakat Kadri, whom I will be seeing in a couple of weeks in the Book Festival talking about it. The early part of the book covers the history of Sharia, and the development of Islamic jurisprudence. This necessarily involves the history of early Islamic rulers, and is full of interesting anecdotes, of which the following is the best so far: a piece of trivia to displace the Mozart bootleg story from my party repertoire.
It concerns the caliph Harun al-Rashid, famous from his central role in the Thousand and One Nights. It seems Harun's mother was as lethally ambitious on Harun's behalf as her Roman predecessor Livia was for her favoured relatives, and had a less-favoured elder brother of Harun's eliminated. It is, however, the chosen method of despatch that sticks in the mind (though in fairness, it may have been supplemented by poison). According to Ibn al-Tiqtaqa in his book al-Fakhri (unfortunately obtainable at present only in French) the mother persuaded her doomed son's concubine to sit on his face for a little too long.
I don't suppose death by suffocation is ever pleasant, but as murder weapons go.....