Muslim Who Wanted Crucifix Barred Is Facing Court

ROME, NOV. 2, 2003 ( The Muslim fundamentalist who appealed to Italian justice to insist that crucifixes be removed from schools is facing prosecution for insulting the Catholic faith during a 2001 television program.

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Adel Smith, president of the Union of Muslims of Italy, a fundamentalist party, described the symbol of Christianity as a «corpse in miniature,» on the program «Door to Door» of Italian state television, on Nov. 5, 2001.

On Friday, the Attorney’s Office in Rome reopened the investigation into the 2-year-old case.

During the television program, Smith said: «The crucifix represents the naked corpse of a man, nailed to a piece of wood, used by the Romans to punish the worst criminals.»

«It is not always pleasant to see a corpse in miniature,» said Smith, who later presented a petition in court to have the crucifix removed from his children’s school in Ofena, in the province of Aquila. Smith faces a court hearing May 24 for his TV statement.

Meanwhile, a court in Aquila on Friday suspended the order for the removal of the crucifix from the school’s classrooms. The stop to the judicial order was the result of an appeal presented by the Italian state.

The president of the Aquila court has subpoenaed the parties involved to appear on Nov. 19.

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