Italian priest puts mosque in nativity scene, Lega Nord reacts with fury

Mario BorghezioItaly’s Right-wing Northern League have reacted with fury after it emerged that a Roman Catholic priest added a model mosque to his church’s nativity scene. The League, which has campaigned against the building of new mosques, bitterly attacked Father Prospero Bonzani as an “imbecile”.

The miniature mosque, complete with a minaret, was included in the skyline of Bethlehem in the nativity scene at Father Bonzani’s Our Lady of Providence church in the northern port of Genova.

Mario Borghezio [pictured], a Northern League MEP, called the priest an “imbecile” and said: “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.” 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.”

But Father Bonzani said that his nativity scene was designed to send a message of inter-faith harmony. “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.”

Daily Telegraph, 25 December 2008