Muhammed in Hell
The drawing appeared in Studi Cattolici, a monthly magazine with links to the ultra-conservative Roman Catholic group, Opus Dei. It shows the poets Virgil and Dante on the edge of a circle of flame looking down on Mohammed.
"Isn't that man there, split in two from head to navel, Mohammed?" Dante asks Virgil.
"Yes and he is cut in two because he has divided society," Virgil replies.
"While that woman there, with the burning coals, represents the politics of Italy towards Islam."
Cesare Cavalleri, the editor of the magazine, said last night that he had not meant to cause offence.
Alternative translation of the Italian text
"If, contrary to my intentions and those of the author, anyone felt offended in his religious feelings, I freely ask him in a Christian manner for forgiveness."
Thee drawing in Studi cattolici takes its inspiration from Dante's Divine Comedy, in which the 14th-century poet imagines being guided through hell by the Latin poet Virgil, and sees the prophet cut in two as his punishment for spreading division. In the cartoon, Virgil points out another figure to Dante, saying: "And that one there with his pants down, that's Italian policy towards Islam."..
|mentre invece quella la con le brache calate esta la politica italiana riguardo all islam
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The story has now been picked up by the mainstream media, but they repeat the same error they did when covering the Danish Cartoon Jihad: They refuse to show the cartoon(s), and thus create a lot of false information.
So far it seems that The Guardian is the only paper that gets the story straight: Opus Dei paper prints prophet in hell cartoon
A cartoon depicting Muhammed in hell has been published by an Italian magazine close to Opus Dei, bringing angry criticism from Muslim groups and disapproval from the Vatican.
So to sum it up:
The drawing in Studi cattolici takes its inspiration from Dante's Divine Comedy, in which the 14th-century poet imagines being guided through hell by the Latin poet Virgil, and sees the prophet cut in two as his punishment for spreading division. In the cartoon, Virgil points out another figure to Dante, saying: "And that one there with his pants down, that's Italian policy towards Islam." The caption uses a play on words to suggest Italy has chickened out in its attitude to Muslims.
An Opus Dei spokesman said the magazine was not an official publication of the conservative Roman Catholic fellowship, and the edition had not been checked in advance. The spokesman said Opus Dei's founder, St Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-75) "would have given up his life for the sake of respecting other people's religious freedom".
The Italian section of the World Muslim League said the cartoon was "in extremely bad taste". Souad Sbai, a member of the Italian government's Islamic consultative council, said: "This sort of provocation doesn't get us anywhere." The Vatican's expert on Islam, Father Justo Lacunza Balda, deplored the cartoon: "This really doesn't seem to me like the way towards dialogue and mutual understanding."
In February, amid the furore of a Danish newspaper publishing cartoons of Muhammed, 14 people died in riots in Libya after cabinet minister Roberto Calderoli, appeared on TV wearing a T-shirt with one of the cartoons, and had to resign. Italian TV is viewed in Libya.
Dante Alighieri - with hat
The cartoon quotes Dante (which every Italian school boy and girl knows by heart). The cartoon doesn't show Mohammed. All it does is making a comment on current politics.
- The cartoon does not postulate that Mohammed has been cut in two - this was done 700 years ago by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy.
- The cartoon does not show Mohammed cut in two - in contrast to a score of drawings in the last 700 years. See the Mohammed Image Archive for examples.
- All the cartoon does is to add a reference to the current Italian policy regarding Islam.
- Nitpicking: Dante (to the left) is the guest, who asks the questions. He's wearing the same hat on the cartoon as on the picture to the right. Virgil (with Roman laurels) guides Dante around in Hell and answers the questions. Most newspapers got it the other way around.
People, who cry "blasphemy" and call it "extremely bad taste", are once again proving that they are using their religion as a political tool.
BTW, unfortunately The Guardian repeats another old error. The Italian minister, Roberto Calderoli, who was fired, did not wear a Danish cartoon. See The Carnival is over. It could also be argued whether the riots in Tripoli were caused by a minister's choice of underwear, or by old hate between Italy and its old Colony, Libya. (Article courtesy of Danish Muhammed Cartoons)