Away with Crucifixes, Crosses, and Christmas As the Muslim presence in the West grows, so do the calls to do away with long-standing insignia that retain their Christian origins. This weblog entry keeps tab on some of the more colorful demands.

A Muslim traffic warden, M'Hammed Azzaoui, resigned from London's Metropolitan Police Authority and threatened a racial discrimination case. He complained that the St. Edward's crown on a police badge — a symbol of the monarchy's authority since the eleventh century and the constitutional symbol of the political independence of the police — contains a tiny cross and, as a Muslim, he could not wear the symbol of another faith. In response, Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair proposed an alternative badge for Muslim officers and those of other religions. But Commissioner Sir John Stevens abandoned this plan after it got him an earful of protests. (Aug. 14, 2002)

A Muslim provocateur, Adel Smith, a resident of Ofena, Italy, sued his son's public school to remove the crucifix in his classroom because it "bothered him." A district judge handed down a decision agreeing with Smith. "Public schools must be impartial regarding religious phenomena," he said. Italians responded with outrage. President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi called the crucifix "a symbol of the values that are at the base of our identity." (Oct. 30, 2003)

Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers forbade British prison officers from wearing a St. George's Cross tie-pin, although it is the national flag of England, due to its connection to the Crusades. Chris Doyle, director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, approved of the step, noting that "A lot of Muslims and Arabs view the Crusades as a bloody episode in our history," Doyle added that it was now time for England to find a new flag and a patron saint who is "not associated with our bloody past and one we can all identify with." (Oct. 4, 2005)

An Islamic group in Australia, the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations wants to do away with the word Christmas, holding that the term excludes too many people in a multicultural society. Its director, Kuranda Seyit, says it's time for Australia to fall in line with the UK, where councils renamed Christmas as Winterval and refer to it adjectively as festive and winter. (Dec. 4, 2005)

Muslims in Russia are demanding that the cross and other Orthodox Christian symbols be removed from the Russian coat of arms. Damir Mukhetdinov, deputy head of the Spiritual Board of the Nizhny Novgorod region's Muslims, said his people's feelings are insulted because "this violates the secular nature of the state and doesn't contribute to the unity of Russia's peoples." Ali Visam Bardvil, head of the Spiritual Board of Karelia's Muslims, noted that "The cross is not a Muslim symbol. We respect the religious feeling of Christians but do not recognize the crucifixion of Christ. Therefore, in my opinion Orthodox symbols should be removed from the coat of arms to make it acceptable to all religions." Nafigulla Ashirov, chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Asian Russia, went further. "This is not only a question of the Russian coat of arms. We can say that icons are all but put up on the walls of state offices," plus a host of other problems. (Dec. 6, 2005)


Philippians 3:18-19 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.