European ruling bans crucifixes in Italian schools

The European Court of Human Rights has passed a ruling to effectively ban Christian crucifixes (crocefissi)from Italian schools since they violate the right to freedom in religious education. The sentence has been sharply criticised by The Vatican as ‘short-sighted and wrong’ (miope e sbagliata) and the Italian government has announced it will appeal against it.
The case was brought to the Strasbourg court by Ms. Soile Lautsi, an Italian citizen of Finnish origin, whose children frequented a state school in Abano Terme in the Veneto region. When the school refused her request to have crucifixes removed from classrooms Ms Lautsi took the case firstly to the regional court (TAR) then to the highest courts in Italy la Corte Costituzionale and the Consiglio di Stato. All the Italian courts however maintained that state schools have every right to hang crucifixes in classrooms and so the case was taken to the EU, whose court ruled that every State must present a neutral attitude towards religious education.
The ruling seems to have taken even Italian public opinion by surprise, in a country where people are used to seeing crucifixes hanging in school classrooms and public offices.
Even the main political opposition party PD (Partito Democratico) seem to be in favour of keeping them describing them as an inoffensive part of Italian tradition. Only the Communist parties are in favour.
The phenomenon was also brought to public attention some years ago when a Muslim father resident in Italy opposed the Christian symbol in his children’s school, but no legislation was passed.

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