Philip Pullella, Reuters, Dec. 9
ROME — An Italian school’s substitution of a Nativity play with Little Red Riding Hood so as not to offend Muslim children has raised the Vatican’s ire and sparked debate on how much traditions should change to accommodate immigrants.
In another school near Milan, the word “Jesus” was removed from a Christmas hymn and substituted with the word “virtue.” In Vicenza province an annual contest for the best Nativity scene in schools was canceled.
Conservative politicians and Churchmen blasted the moves.
“Are we losing our minds?,” said Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli, an outspoken member of the populist Northern League. “Do we want to erase our identity for the love of Allah?”
“Those Christmas plays are like forced indoctrination,” said Abdel Smith, one of Italy’s most outspoken Muslim leaders, who has launched legal battles to take crucifixes from school walls.