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Shall we censor Dante too?


The Jyllands-Posten cartoons are hardly the first time that the Prophet has been portrayed negatively in the Western media.

In his Inferno, Dante consigns Mohammed to a subcircle of Hell reserved for "Sowers of Discord" (which also includes Mohammed's cousin and son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib, founder of the Shi'a branch of Islam).

From Canto XXVIII:

31                                 See how twisted and broken
           Mohammed is!  Before me walks Ali, his face
        Cleft from chin to crown, grief–stricken.

34    All the others you see in this place                
           Sowed scandal and schism when they were alive,
        And thus are now split wide.  Each time we pace

37    Around this sad, painful road we arrive
           Back at the devil who slices us up once more;
        Each one of this mob has just enough time to revive

40    Himself and close up his gaping wounds before
           He's subject again to that blade's cruel rip.

(Translated by Seth Zimmerman)

Should we follow President Chirac's advice to avoid "anything liable to offend the beliefs of others" and throw Dante on the bonfire before the jihadists do it for us?

Posted by Rodger on February 11, 2006 at 03:14 PM | Permalink


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