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Crucifix Banned From Italy's Schools By New EU Court Ruling.


Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday a European Court of Human Rights ruling that called for crucifixes to be removed from Italian classrooms was a nonsensical attempt to deny Europe’s Christian roots.

The conservative prime minister, who draws much of his support from the Roman Catholic majority, told a television show the ruling was an attempt to “deny Europe’s Christian roots. This is not acceptable for us Italians.”

Mayors all over the country vowed to defy the ruling and there were angry reactions from Catholic strongholds abroad such as Poland. Thousands of people protested on social networking sites on the Internet.

Italy has been in the throes of debate on how to deal with a growing population of immigrants, mostly Muslims, and the ruling could become another battle cry for the government’s policy drive to crack down on new arrivals.

Two Italian laws from the 1920s, when the Fascists were in power, state that schools must display crucifixes.

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Rome, November 3 – Italy has appealed a landmark European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling against crucifixes in Italian classrooms that sparked a storm Tuesday in this heavily Catholic country. The ruling on a suit filed by a Finnish-born mother of two sparked outrage among Italian conservatives but was praised by progressives.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini called the ruling ”a death blow for a Europe of values and rights,” He said Europe’s roots lay in its ”Christian identity”

Hard-left parties like the Italian Communists defended the court for upholding secular values and the separation of Church and State. Crucifixes are a fixture in Italian public buildings although the postwar Constitution ordered a separation of Church and State and Catholicism ceased to be Italy’s state religion in 1984. Using a legal loophole, two Fascist-era laws have sometimes been used to justify their status.

A Muslim parent, Adel Smith, and a Jewish Italian judge, Luigi Tosti, have tried to have them removed while at least one teacher has been disciplined for protesting about them. Smith, the head of the small Union of Italian Muslims, succeeded in getting a court order in 2003 to have crosses removed from the school his children attended. But the order was later reversed after a nationwide protest.

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