Christmas is cancelled: Italian headmaster is forced to resign over banning festive celebrations

Marco Parma decided to cancel a Christmas concert to avoid offending non-Christian pupils in the wake of the Paris attacks

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The Independent Online

An Italian headmaster has been forced to resign after his decision to cancel his school’s Christmas carol concert in light of the Paris attacks was criticised by the country's Prime Minister. 

Marco Parma, 63, decided to cancel the traditional Christmas festivities at the Garofani School in Rozano near Milan to avoid offending non-Christian pupils. 

But the decision was heavily criticised by the school’s pupils - including its non-religious and Muslim students.

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told the Corriere della Sera he thought Mr Parma was making a "big mistake".

He said: "Debate and dialogue does not mean drowning identities in an indistinct and insipid form of political correctness.

"All Italians, both non-religious and Christians, will never give up Christmas".

Defending the move, Mr Parma said he had good intentions and decided to cancel the concert after terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people

Instead, he decided to postpone the concert till 21st January and make it a "Winter Concert" with no religious songs.

But a Muslim parent at the school Mahmoud El Kheir - who is originally from Egypt - said: "Who are us Muslims to say what can happen at an Italian school? We are guests in this country. I hope the public understand that the decision was not made because of a request by Muslim parents".

His wife, Laila Magar, said their twins, Fatma and Yassin, took part in Christmas celebrations at the school and sang "traditional Catholic songs" with the other children. 

"Why create a problem that doesn’t exist", she said.