This is hardly the first "religious hate" crime to occur in the context of the cross in Italy. Among others,
- A Muslim boy of African origin picked on, insulted, and eventually beat a 12-year-old girl during school .
- A Muslim migrant an old church in Venice and attacked its large, 300-year-old cross, breaking off one of its arms, while shouting, "All that is in a church is false!"
- After a in close proximity to a populated mosque, the area's mayor said : "Before we put a show of unity with Muslims, let's have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture."
The fact is, Islamic hostility to the cross is an unwavering phenomenon—one that crosses continents and centuries; one that is very much indicative of Islam's innate hostility to Christianity.
For starters, not only is the cross the quintessential symbol of Christianity—for all denominations, including most forms of otherwise iconoclastic Protestantism—but it symbolizes the fundamental disagreement between Christians and Muslims. As Professor Sidney Griffith explains, "The cross and the icons publicly declared those very points of Christian faith which the Koran, in the Muslim view, explicitly denied: that Christ was the Son of God and that he died on the cross." Accordingly, "the Christian practice of venerating the cross ... often aroused the disdain of Muslims," so that from the start of the Muslim conquests of Christian lands there was an ongoing "campaign to erase the public symbols of Christianity, especially the previously ubiquitous sign of the cross."
This "campaign" traces back to the Muslim prophet Muhammad. He reportedly "had such a repugnance to the form of the cross that he broke everything brought into his house with its figure upon it," wrote one historian (, p. 10). Muhammad also claimed that at the end times Jesus (the Muslim 'Isa) himself would make it a point to "break the cross."