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Dante's Divine Comedy -- 'offensive' and 'should be banned'?


Yes, if one UN-affiliated human rights organization gets its way. According to the UK Telegraph, Gherush 92 -- a group that advises UN bodies on racism and discrimination -- believes Dante's classic work is "offensive and discriminatory" and should be banned.

For those who skipped reading the epic poem in high school, Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" presents a vision of life after death and is divided into three parts: Inferno (Hell), Purgatory and Paradiso (Heaven).  On the surface, the prose tracks Dante's journey through each level, but its allegorical backdrop reflects the soul's journey to God according to medieval Christian theology and philosophy in the 14th century.

But Gherush 92 says Dante's masterpiece has no place in the modern classroom.

It represents Islam as a heresy and Mohammed as a schismatic and refers to Jews as greedy, scheming moneylenders and traitors, [Gherush 92 president Valentina] Sereni told the Adnkronos news agency.

"The Prophet Mohammed was subjected to a horrific punishment – his body was split from end to end so that his entrails dangled out, an image that offends Islamic culture," she said.

Homosexuals are damned by the work as being "against nature" and condemned to an eternal rain of fire in Hell.

"We do not advocate censorship or the burning of books, but we would like it acknowledged, clearly and unambiguously, that in the Divine Comedy there is racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic content. Art cannot be above criticism," Miss Sereni said.

Schoolchildren and university students who studied the work lacked "the filters" to appreciate its historical context and were being fed a poisonous diet of anti-Semitism and racism, the group said.

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