I read a lot of random stuff in graduate school. Studying the Middle East pretty much ensures that but I'm convinced that most grad students are forced to absorb bizarre, useless information regardless of their field of study. This week I stumbled upon what is perhaps my all-time favorite tidbit of random knowledge.
I am studying Spanish history right now, especially the roughly 700 years (711-1492 A.D.) when Muslims ruled portions of Iberia. My professor wanted me to read about the treatment of Muslim heretics.
This is what I learned:
"In case of necessity, some jurists allowed the killing of religious deviants and rebels and eating them."
Eating them? In case of necessity? When it is ever NECESSARY to eat a heretic? If you're the Donner Party, lost and dying of starvation in the wilderness, far be it from me to judge you for cannibalism, but eating heretics? In Spain? For real?
Here's the full reference so you know I'm not making this stuff up: Maribel Fierro, "Religious Dissension in al-Andalus," Al-Qantara 22 (2001): 475.
The lesson here: follow the Prophet.