April 17, 2006

"The rage was just calmed and here, with an absurd and criminal logic, they go and stir things up."

Another cartoon about Muhammad:
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.

"Why all the fuss over a cartoon which only represents that which has already been written centuries ago by Dante Alighieri?"
Why print it now if not for the current fuss?

Michelle Malkin has the actual cartoon, which does not, in fact, show Muhammad. It only depicts Dante and Virgil looking at Hell, calling to mind the many illustrations of Muhammad that already exist in the many versions of "The Divine Comedy" that have been made over the years.


Bissage said...

We will know that this "Clash of Civilizations" thing is for real when there is a "Manhattan Project" for cartoonists rather than physicists.

Bruce Hayden said...

This is frankly getting absurd. The cartoon even doesn't show Mohammed, just Dante and Virgil talking about him in Canto 28 of the Devine Comedy.

Of course, you also have to take into account the times. Constantinople was under constant attack, but wouldn't fall for another 132 years. The Spanish next door were involved in the 700 year process of pushing the Moors out, and that wouldn't be complete for another 171 years. The Divine Comedy was started less than 120 years after the fall of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, where the Moslems captured the precious relic of the True Cross. The Fourth Crusade ended almost exactly 100 years before the work was complete, and a bit over a decade before it was begun, the last of the Crusader kingdoms was erased from the map.

In other words, Dante wrote at a time when Islam and Christianity were still actively fighting for Europe. No surprise that he took the stand he took against Islam and Mohammed.

Anonymous said...

Will we now see calls to ban Dante in universities?

knox said...

The fact that a cartoon can be published somewhere and we have to actually worry about people being hurt or killed over it is absurd.

I agree with Marghlar that this is a particularly interesting situation because Mohammed isn't actually shown. Let's see how long the list gets of things that can't be pictured, stated, implied, suggested, or hinted at about Islam...

I love how the Muslim spokesman's statement implies that if anything bad happens, it's the paper's fault for "stirring things up." Real smart.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with the above posters. The claim has been that depicting Mohammed was contrary to and insulting of Islam. But here, he isn't even shown, and yet Moslems are up in arms. What is shows is that they are paranoid about anything adverse to their Prophet, and not just his actual depiction.

Smilin' Jack said...

These cartoons are all very lame. Much better stuff can be found at http://www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/.

I especially recommend the section on (rather gruesome) depictions of Mo in Hell by famous artists, and the Extreme Mo section.

The Web be praised!

knox said...

You don't have to be Christian, or anything else, to not want to be put in a burqa.

tjl said...

Smilin' Jack:

Loved the Mo pix in the Extreme Mo section, especially the one captioned "Start Your Own Intifada."