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?Prior to the mid-20th century, Catholicism was Italy's state religion; however, a new Constitution in 1947 changed this (2).? Article 7 of this Italian Constitution declares that the "State and Catholic Church are, each within their own reign, independent and sovereign" (9).? Articles 8 and 19 later provide freedom of religion for all Italian citizens (9).? However, most Italians continue to align themselves with the Catholic Church, as an estimated 85 percent are nominally Roman Catholic (2).? The country's second largest religion has just recently become Muslim with an estimated 700,000 people aligning themselves with this religion (2).? Other major religions recognized in Italy include Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, Scientologists, Waldensians, Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and small numbers of Jewish and Protestant communities (2).?
?Although there is a distinct separation of church and state in the Italian Government, the lines are slightly more blurred than they are in the United States.? The Catholic Church is still indirectly involved in Italian politics.? Pope John Paul II and the Vatican's presence are felt throughout the entire nation.? For example, when the European Union was trying to create a constitution in 2002, the nations struggled with whether or not God and religion should be included in the draft.? The pope addressed the Italian Parliament for the first time in history.? In his 45-minute speech, he encouraged the legislature "to make sure that the expansion of the European Union did no diminish the role and importance of Christianity on the Continent."? He also said, "Italy's social...
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11. Masci, David.? "Can democracy flourish in strict Islamic states?"? CQ Researcher.? 24 March 2000.
12. "Minus a minaret."? The Economist.? 22 November, 2003.?
13. Morris, Chris.? "Turkey high court keeps religion at arms length on Friday, the Turkish High court banned the Islamist-led Virtue Party for allegedly encouraging Radical Islam."? Christian Science Monitor.? 25 June 2001.
14. Narili, Nilufer.? "The rise of the Islamist movement in Turkey."? Middle East Review
Of International Affairs.? September 1999. http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/besa/meria/journal/1999/issue3/ju3n3a4.html.
15.Williams, Daniel.? "Italian Judge Bans Crucifix from School; Anger greets order in
Muslims case."? Washington Post.? 27 October 2003.
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