There’s a strange story out of Italy involving a nativity figurine’s attire that was apparently so controversial a local priest was forced to remove and replace the display.
The Rev. Franco Corbo, 76, of St Anne’s Church in Potenza, Italy, reportedly faced threats and intense angst over the claim that Mary, Jesus’ mother, was depicted as wearing a Muslim body covering in the display, Religion News Service reported.
The apparent burqa-donning nativity figurine led to a flurry of angry social media reactions and calls to Corbo’s church — a situation that was purportedly so intense the elderly priest decided to pull the plug on the display.
Italian priest replaces Nativity scene after outcry over ‘burqa’: ROME (RNS) The Rev. Franco Corbo, a 76-year-old… https://t.co/yElRDIN9EG pic.twitter.com/JRI3ArFpjf
— MSLM Austin (@MSLMAustin) January 4, 2017
The nativity scene initially showed Mary, Joseph and other Bible characters donning Tuareg garbs, but has since been replaced with African-themed figures purportedly reflective of clothing worn in Senegal. The Tuareg are tribes who have long resided in the Sahara Desert, according to Religion News Service.
Corbo has since explained the initial attire, and has pushed back against claims that Mary was wearing a burqa.
“The holy family was wearing Arab costumes to represent cultural openness and send a message of peace to all cultures,” he said, dismissing claims the characters were depicted as Muslims. “The burqa is black and covers the whole body except for the eyes. The statue had a white shawl and a white dress and the face was visible.”
Corbo is known for depicting political scenes. And, as it turns out, the walls of the contentious nativity reportedly carried slogans such as, “Foreigners out,” and the display was split in the middle into eastern and western sides — a message against literal and figurative walls that are built in society, according to the Daily and Sunday Express.
“Just think about the wall built by Israel to keep Palestinians locked in true enclaves. It’s my desire to remind people that religion can and should be an instrument of dialogue,” Corbo reportedly said last month. “All other faiths and ethnicities have been destroyed or reduced to misery by the selfishness of Western society.”
Naturally, you can see why there was some controversy. You can read more about the debate here.
(H/T: Religion News Service)
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