ROME – Sending a message of unity and inclusion, an Italian priest has put a nativity scene portraying Mary in a hijab and the figures of Joseph and the shepherds are wearing traditional Muslim clothing.
“Just think about the wall built by Israel to keep Palestinians lock in true enclaves,” Franco Corbo, the priest at St Anne’s church in the southern city of Potenza in Basilicata, told The Express on Wednesday, December 28.
“It’s my desire to remind people that religion can and should be an instrument of dialogue.
“All other faiths and ethnicities have been destroyed or reduced to misery by the selfishness of Western society.”
Corbo has depicted the traditional nativity scene with Mary wearing a veil and the figures of Joseph and the shepherds are all wearing traditional Muslim clothing.
The scene is also split down the middle and divided into “Eastern” and “Western” sides.
Triggering criticism in the Italian media,
The priest had defended his decision, saying that he wanted to send a message saying ‘no’ to too many walls, either literally or symbolically, that prevented integration.
He added that the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) had nothing to do with the Islamic religion and that suicide bombers and terrorists had nothing to do with the religion.
“Islam, like all religions, is synonymous with peace and brotherhood,” he added.