Cover

Yesterday’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which has ordered the removal of crucifixes in Italian schools on the basis that they constitute "a violation of pupils' religious freedom" has sparked rage amongst Italian Catholics. La Repubblica reports that the Vatican has vehemently criticised this "ideological, short-sighted decision" while Silvio Berlusconi’s government has announced it plans to lodge an appeal. Opposition leader Pierluigi Bersani of the Democratic Party has also waded in against what he terms a breach of "common sense". In other Italian journals, Corriere della Sera sees this "symbol hunt" as hateful as the French ban on hijab for students. On an another note, political scientist Michele Ainis at La Stampa observes that "No law of the Italian Republic law prescribes the crucifix for schools" arguing that its presence is a vestige of the fascist era and symptomatic of the state's enduring deference towards the church.