Muslim students in Italian high school exempt from studying Dante's 'Divine Comedy' due to depictions of Mohammed in hell

A secondary school in Treviso, Italy, has come under fire after it was revealed that Muslim students were exempted from studying Dante Alighieri's "The Divine Comedy" due to the poem's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in Hell. The epic poem, spanning Inferno, Purgatoria, and Paradiso, shows the fate of many non-Christians, per the immagination of the legendary Italian poet. Ancient poets Virgil, Aristotle, and other pagans are depicted as existing in Limbo due to their lack of Christianity.

According to a report by The Telegraph, the school allowed two Muslim students, aged around 14, to skip classes during the study of Dante's work. "The Divine Comedy," a 14th-century allegorical poem. It portrays a man's journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, with Virgil as his guide. The story further depicts the Prophet Muhammad and his cousin Ali in hell being tortured by demons with swords.

An excerpt from the story reads, “How is Muhammad mangled! Before me walks Ali weeping, from the chin his face cleft to the forelock.” Muhammad is placed there because Dante viewed him as a sinner who promoted scandals, schism, and discord.

The school’s decision to exempt the students immediately drew criticism from Italian politicians across the political spectrum. Senator Simona Malpezzi condemned the exemption, stating that it was “deeply wrong” for students to be exempt from learning about the “deep knowledge of Italian culture that studying Dante brings."

"Knowing Dante does not take anything away from children’s religious faith and adds a great deal to their knowledge of Italian culture,” she stated.

MP Frederico Mollicone echoed this sentiment, saying, “This is just the latest shameful case of cultural cancellation. An exemption like this not only undermines our national identity but deprives new generations of formative scholastic study.”

Mario Conte, the mayor of Treviso, also criticized the school's move, stating that he "would prefer that they cut down on kids looking at TikTok and social media rather than Dante. Less mobile phones, more Divine Comedy."

Image: Title: Dante