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Last Updated: Friday, 3 February 2006, 14:55 GMT
Italy judge barred over crucifix
By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

Italian classroom
The law on crucifixes in schools and courts is 80 years old
An Italian judge who refuses to have a crucifix displayed in his courtroom has been suspended without pay.

Judge Luigi Tosti, from Rimini, is appealing against the decision and has told the BBC the fascist-era law amounts to religious discrimination.

He was given a seven-month suspended jail term in December for refusing to work in a courtroom with a crucifix.

Disputes over asserting Italy's ancient Christian traditions have been making news in the country recently.

The obligatory display of crucifixes in Italian courtrooms and state-run schools dates back to fascist times 80 years ago, but it is not always strictly enforced in classrooms.

The suspension of Judge Tosti marks the latest twist in his battle with the authorities.

He told the BBC that he is sympathetic to Judaism and had asked for permission to substitute the crucifix with a menorah, the Jewish symbol, but this had been refused by the authorities.

"This is religious discrimination and it is against the freedom of belief laid down in the Italian constitution," Mr Tosti said.

Judge suspends crucifix verdict
31 Oct 03 |  Europe
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