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VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican is taking legal action against the Benetton clothing company to prevent the circulation of an ad featuring a fake photo montage of Pope Benedict kissing a top Egyptian imam on the lips.
The Vatican said the image is "offensive not only to the dignity of the pope and the Catholic Church, but also to the sensibilities of believers."
Benetton withdrew the ad immediately after its debut Wednesday
once the Vatican denounced it as an unacceptable provocation.
The campaign's fake photos feature a half-dozen purported political nemeses in lip-locked embraces, including President Barack Obama and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)