Lebanese judge sentences Virgin Mary insulters to read verses from Qur’an

A judge’s punishment meted to three men who insulted the Virgin Mary went viral on Lebanese social media earlier this week. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 February 2018

Lebanese judge sentences Virgin Mary insulters to read verses from Qur’an

DUBAI: A judge’s punishment meted to three men who insulted the Virgin Mary went viral on Lebanese social media earlier this week.
Instead of slapping them with jail time or a fine, Tripoli judge Jocelyn Matta ordered the three men to memorize verses from the Holy Qur’an’s Surat Al-Omran, which glorifies the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.
The sentence sent shockwaves across Twitter in Lebanon, and even caught the attention of Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri.
The PM tweeted: “A salute to judge of investigations in North of Lebanon chief Jocelyn Matta. Her ruling against the three young men in Virgin Mary’s case, and sentencing them to memorize the Holy Qur’an’s Surat Al-Omran, is the epitome of justice and promotes co-existence between Christians and Muslims.”
The case, which was tried in a Tripoli courthouse last week, was uncommon due to Lebanon’s strict laws concerning offending religions or beliefs.
In her closing statement, the judge said that the sentence “aimed to educate the men on Islam’s reverence for Virgin Mary.”


Renaissance master Raphael did a nose-job in self-portrait, face reconstruction suggests

Updated 11 August 2020

Renaissance master Raphael did a nose-job in self-portrait, face reconstruction suggests

  • Professor Mattia Falconi: ‘He certainly made his nose look more refined’
  • Raphael died in Rome in 1520 aged 37, and was buried in Rome’s Pantheon

ROME: Raphael probably didn’t like his nose, and replaced it with an idealized version in his famous self-portrait.
That is the conclusion of Rome University scientists who produced a 3D computer reconstruction of the Renaissance master’s face from a plaster cast of his presumed skull made in 1833.
In that year, the remains believed to be those of the man hailed by his contemporaries as “the divine one” because he sought perfection through his work were last exhumed.
“He certainly made his nose look more refined,” said Professor Mattia Falconi, a molecular biologist at the university’s Tor Vergata campus. “His nose was, let’s say, slightly more prominent.”
Raphael died in Rome in 1520 aged 37, probably from pneumonia, and was buried in Rome’s Pantheon.
The self-portrait, which normally hangs in Florence’s Uffizi gallery but is currently in Rome for an exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of his death, was done about 15 years earlier, when he was clean-shaven.
It features the more aquiline nose that Raphael also included in other works in which he painted himself.
The reconstruction is of the way he may have looked closer to his death, when he wore a beard.
Falconi, along with forensic anthropologists and other experts, reconstructed the face with tissue layering techniques used by crime investigators.
The result was a face similar to that of the master on an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi, one of his students.
“When we finished, I said to myself ‘I’ve seen that face before,’” Falconi, 57, said in a telephone interview.
Another similarity is with the subject of “Portrait of a Man,” painted between 1512 and 1515 by Sebastiano del Piombo, a Raphael contemporary and rival.
For centuries there has been speculation that the bones exhumed in 1833 and reburied in a re-styled crypt may not have been Raphael’s because some of his students were later buried near him.
But Falconi believes the research points to an around 85 percent chance that the skull is Raphael’s because of similarities with most of the artist’s face as depicted by him and his contemporaries.
Not everyone was pleased with Falconi’s research. An art critic for the Rome newspaper La Repubblica said it had produced a cheap “videogame version” of Raphael.
Falconi said he hoped the tomb can be opened again someday for direct tests on the skull. This could resolve several mysteries, including confirming what caused his death.