Monday, November 30, 2015

Italian School Head Provokes Controversy By Canceling Christmas Concert In Favor of Winter Musical In January

With Italy's population becoming more religiously diverse, it is now facing the kind of issues regarding Christmas celebration in public schools that have been common in the United States.  Under attack from Italy's Prime Minister, the headmaster of a 1,000 pupil school in the town of Rozzano near Milan has been forced to resign after he canceled the school's traditional Christmas concert in favor of a non-religious Winter Concert in January.  AFP, The Telegraph and Deutsche Welle all reported yesterday on aspects of the story.  Before resigning, Marco Parma, headmaster of the Garofani comprehensive school whose student body is 20% non-Christian, said:
Last year we had a Christmas concert and some parents insisted on having carols. The Muslim children didn't sing, they just stood there, absolutely rigid.  It is not nice watching a child not singing or, worse, being called down from the stage by their parents.
The school's teachers backed the headmaster, but Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was incensed, saying:
Discussion and dialogue does not mean to say we can drown our identity for the sake of a vague and insipid form of political correctness. Italians, both non-religious and Christians, will never give up Christmas.
The head of Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League went further, arguing that "canceling traditions is a favor for terrorists."