German supermarket giant Lidl has been caught doctoring images of churches to remove their crosses for the second time.
The Soviet-style alterations were made to photographs of the picturesque Church of Sant’Antonio Abate in the village of Dolceacqua, Italy, The Telegraph reports.
The newspaper indicates that the image used for promotional purposes in nearby Camporosso was altered “so as not to offend the sensibility of the town’s Muslim immigrants”.
“You need to show photos of Dolceacqua which correspond to reality. If you don’t want to show crosses, then use an image of our castle,” complained town mayor Fulvio Gazzola, who has vowed to take legal action against the company.
“Lidl said that removing religious symbols is part of an Italian and European publicity strategy. They are free to do what they want but they shouldn’t ruin photos. This is harmful to the image of our village and to our Christian traditions.”
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) September 1, 2017
Lidl was subject to protests across Europe after a similar scandal involving a range of Greek-style products, featuring the famous blue-domed chapels of Oia, on the island of Santorini.
Breitbart London reported how the retailer had initially justified its decision to airbrush the chapels’ crosses out of existence by saying: “We avoid the use of religious symbols because we do not wish to exclude any religious beliefs,” adding: “We are a company that respects diversity and this is what explains the design of this packaging.”
The company was forced into a rapid climbdown after a social media firestorm and live protests outside some of its stores, with many critics pointing out that some of their products and promotional literature appeared to feature Islamic-style designs and Halal certification badges.
Lidl drew particularly heavy fire in Central Europe, with the Archbishop of Prague blasting the company’s actions as “unprecedented” and “immoral”.
“So far, only falsification of photographs has occurred, but there are fears that soon real crosses may be removed,” he wrote in a letter to Greek ambassador to the Czech Republic, asking him to “accept these few lines as an expression of support for your beautiful country, as well as an expression of resistance to the falsification of history and attacks on the cultural heritage of all mankind”.
Lidl have apologised for the new poster, and promised it will be taken down “immediately”.