Rome, Italy, Oct 28, 2003 / 22:00 pm
Leaders from across the political spectrum, religious leaders and even some Muslims have joined together in a rare consensus to demand the crucifixes not be removed from Italy's public schools, despite a controversial court ruling on the issue.
The debate on the presence of crucifixes in public school classrooms erupted last week when Adel Smith, president of the political party Muslim Coalition of Italy, brought a lawsuit against the Antonio Silveri public elementary school in Ofena, alleging the continued presence of a crucifix in the school violated the religious freedom of his two children.
After last Thursday's ruling by Judge Mario Montanaro ordering the crucifix to be removed, the public outcry was so intense the country's leaders were forced to comment on the ruling.
The Minister of Justice, Roberto Castelli, has ordered an investigation into the ruling in order to determine "if regulations were not respected or if current laws were ignored," since there are current laws on the books and past rulings by the Constitutional Court permitting the presence of crucifies in public classrooms.