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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 16, 2006 09:19 PM

***scroll for updates***

Update: Reader Andrew passes along a cartoon that he believes is the artwork published by Studi Cattolici. If anyone can translate the Italian captions to confirm, it would be appreciated. Note that Mohammed does not even appear in the cartoon:


Lorenzo V. confirms this is it. More here from the Italian press.

Translation at Never Yet Melted.

Via the London Telegraph, an Italian Catholic magazine has entered the Mohammed cartoon fray:

An Italian magazine has infuriated Muslims by publishing a cartoon showing the Prophet Mohammed cut in half and burning in Hell.

The drawing appears 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. “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.”

That was a marked change of tone from an earlier statement, when he said: “We must not fear freedom of opinion.” If the cartoon provoked an attack, it would only confirm “the idiotic positions” of Muslim extremists.

“This is not a cartoon against Mohammed. It is a cartoon which addresses the loss of the West’s identity.

Amen to that. Too bad he didn’t stick to his guns. [Update: A reader thinks Cavelleri’s apology was Italian sarcasm rather than capitulation. I hope so.]

Cavelleri continued:

“Why all the fuss over a cartoon which only represents that which has already been written centuries ago by Dante Alighieri?”

Dante placed Mohammed in Hell in Canto 28 of The Divine Comedy. His work inspired a painting by William Blake, depicting Mohammed with his entrails hanging out, and a fresco in Bologna Cathedral showing him being tortured by a devil.

It seems some Catholic thinkers are opening their eyes to the insanity of the jihadists. But not all. Italian Muslims are gearing up in protest and some Catholics are dutifully playing the dhimmis. Apologies have already been extracted.

Stay tuned. I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of this.


4/17 morning update: Blogger Chris at Home quotes the passage in Dante’s Inferno to which the cartoon alluded:

Inferno XXVIII, 19-42.

The poets are in the ninth
chasm of the eighth circle, that of the Sowers of
Discord, whose punishment is to be mutilated.
Mahomet shows his entrails to Dante and Virgil
while on the left stands his son Ali, his head cleft
from chin to forelock.

Chris reprints the Willam Blake painting of Mohammed in Hell:


And he also has a photo of the Gustave Dore version.

Flashback: Zombie’s archive of Mohammed images has many more paintings depicting Dante’s Mohammed in Hell scene.

Bridget P. notes that the Bologna Cathedral, which has a fresco of the Mohammed in Hell scene, has been targeted by Muslims before. In 2002, an Al Qaeda plot to blow up the church was uncovered.

How long before we see this again:


More blog coverage:

Pamela at Atlas Shrugs
Gates of Vienna blasts the capitulationists.
Ann Althouse

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Categories: Danish Cartoons, Islam, Politics, Sharia