Page 4, 5th December 2003

5th December 2003
Page 4
Page 4, 5th December 2003 — on crucifixes I n classroom

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Organisations: ITALIAN court


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on crucifixes I n classroom


THE ITALIAN court that caused an international outcry by ordering a school to remove crucifixes from its walls has revoked its decision.

Adel Smith, a Scots-born Muslim activist, won the court order after he argued that he did not want his two children to see the Christian symbols at their school in L'Aquila.

The education ministry filed art appeal and Pope John Paul warned Italians that it was undemocratic and dangerous to try to erase a country's religious symbols.

Italy has separated the church from the state but remains deeply attached to its Catholic roots and identity. The court in L'Aquila said it was overturning the ban because it did not have the judicial authority to order the removal of crucifixes from classrooms.

Two Italian laws dating from the 1920s state that schools must display crucifixes. The laws are still technically in effect though they have not been strictly enforced since 1984, when Roman Catholicism stopped being the state religion under a new agreement with the Vatican. The L'Aquila court said it would refer the matter to a regional judge.

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