Milan – Milan’s leading obstetric hospital was replacing its crucifixes with images of the Virgin Mary to avoid offending a growing number of Muslim patients, reports said Wednesday. "Our wards have become multiethnic. We want to respect all religions and avoid any form of discrimination. That is why we have decided to replace the crucifix with the image of the Madonna, which is also appreciated by Muslim women," daily La Repubblica quoted Mangiagalli’s medical director, Basilio Tiso, as saying Wednesday.
Some 7,000 women give birth at the Mangiagalli each year. Of these, about 30 per cent are foreign immigrants, many of whom are not Catholic.
The head of Milan’s Viale Jenner Islamic centre, Abdelhamid Shaari, welcomed the move, saying Mary was a figure that was also revered by Muslims.
"This is certainly a sign of respect for our religion that we greatly appreciate. But a white wall would have been even better. Italy is a secular state and children are angels in any religion," Shaari told La Repubblica.
The representation of the cross on which Jesus died has become the subject of a heated debate in Italy in recent years as Muslim groups and non-Christians seek its removal from the walls of public buildings.
Although church and state are officially separated in Italy, a 1923 regulation issued during Benito Mussolini’s Fascist rule and never repealed states that a symbol of the crucifix should hang in every classroom and courtroom in the country.
What about Protestants who are uncomfortable with statues of Mary or about atheists who dislike any religious symbolism. Just part of a growing trend to cater specifically to Muslims. From foot washing stations in airports the trend is to worry only about Muslim sensibilities. You know how sensitive Muslims are to things like alcohol and blind guide dogs in Taxi cabs and now Crucifixes. Funny though those same sensitivities don’t apply to suicide bombings and beheadings.
Though this is also part of a trend of people being offended. Survival of the sensitive is the new Darwinism I guess. For example people saying they will never go to Starbucks again because of an coffee cup with a quote by some atheist. I have never been into a Starbucks in my life, but this seems to me to be an over reaction. Do people really think they can live their lives without encountering contrary opinions and beliefs? There is a difference between mocking others beliefs and simply encountering them.