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Baby Jesus let back into Sydney store

A fast food chain yesterday admitted it was overzealous in its pursuit of political correctness when it banned one of its Sydney stores from displaying a traditional Christmas nativity scene.

Last Thursday, Westfield Hornsby Oporto franchise owner Charlie Saliba was told to remove his nativity scene - depicting baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men and a shepherd - for fear it would offend non-Christian customers.

Mr Saliba, a Catholic, said: "I am Maltese and we are very much into our Christmas decorations . . . they told me take it down and I thought it was a shame because, without a nativity scene, it's not Christmas.

"I've been putting the nativity scene up for the past 3 years and have not had one complaint. I have had a lot of compliments."

Oporto chief executive Jeff Fisher had previously told the Daily Telegraph the chain supported generic decorations over nativity scenes because Australia was a multicultural society and it would be wrong to push any one religious belief.

But he told the paper yesterday: "The issue [of the nativity scene] is obviously something the community feels very strongly about. We have listened to the community and corrected the situation.

"We are guilty of being over-sensitive by wanting to keep the decorations to a general nature. We tried to be politically correct and that was overzealous."

Yesterday morning the nativity scene, which cost $500 to construct, was returned to its pride of place next to the shop's second most sacred object: the chip machine.

Baby Jesus ban lifted (Daily Telegraph 1/12/04)


31 Dec 2004