Italian priest under fire for putting mosque in church’’s nativity scene

December 25th, 2008 - 6:24 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 25 (ANI): The Right-wing Northern League in Italy is enraged after a Roman Catholic priest added a model mosque to his church’’s nativity scene.

The Nativity of Jesus, or simply the Nativity, is the account of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospels, and various apocryphal accounts that are a key element of traditional Christian mythology.

The League has bitterly attacked Father Prospero Bonzani, calling him as an “imbecile”.

Father Bonzani’’s Our Lady of Providence church in the northern port of Genovas nativity scene has a miniature mosque, complete with a minaret in the skyline of Bethlehem.

The anti-immigration Northern League, which has campaigned against the building of new mosques, has called for a referendum to before any more mosques are built.

“What on earth possessed him to put a mosque in a traditional Christmas nativity scene? I hope that the Church authorities in Genova will investigate this as a matter of urgency, The Telegraph quoted Mario Borghezio, a Northern League MEP, as saying.

He added: “What will this priest do when he says Mass during Ramadan? Ask us to turn towards Mecca? He may as well have included a suicide bomber wearing dynamite.”

However, Father Bonzani claimed that his nativity scene was designed to send a message of inter-faith harmony.

He said: “I included the mosque as a sign that we should have more dialogue with the Muslim faith. I do not have any regrets. At the end of the day the most important thing to focus on here is the Holy Family. I have only one had one complaint from within the parish and that’’s it.”

Also, he added that one more reason for including the mosque was that it accurately represented today’’s Bethlehem.

“Someone asked me why I had put one in and I said I wanted it to be a modern Bethlehem, he said.

Responding to his fiercer critics Father Bonzani said: “They said that I was allowing Islam to infiltrate Catholicism. As for Mr Borghezio, he is showing complete ignorance of his so called Catholic faith to love thy neighbour as thyself.” (ANI)

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