Credit this story for not using the euphamism Asian.
A HOSPITAL porter has been sacked after a row over a crucifix being covered up in a prayer room.
Joseph Protano, 54, was suspended four days after the incident last month at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Pendlebury.
He has now been dismissed for gross misconduct, but intends to appeal.
Police quizzed him for four hours last month, on suspicion of religiously aggravated assault, but he was released without charge.
He denies the allegations and must wait to see if police take any action.
The row centres on a prayer room available to staff and visitors of all faiths at the hospital, which contains a Virgin Mary statue and a crucifix.
Mr Protano, a Roman Catholic who has worked two years at the hospital, entered the room when three Muslims were using it - two patients and a doctor.
An argument broke out after he asked them to remove a cloth covering the crucifix and statue and to turn a picture of the Virgin Mary face up.
He said he was unable to comment on his sacking as the police probe and his plans to appeal were ongoing.
But a friend said: "He was very shocked at the decision.
"He thinks he has been treated terribly.
"He loves his job and doesn't do it for the money - until recently, his employers were paying just £5.88 an hour.
"They are saying he should not have gone into the prayer room and it is alleged he used racist language, which he totally refutes.
"His pay has been stopped, even though he intends to appeal, and he has had to sign on for benefits."
The friend said Mr Protano went into the prayer room about six times a day to check the statue and crucifix were not left covered.
He said as a Christian, he felt it could be upsetting for visiting parents to find them covered up.
The case has angered many hospital staff, who think he has been treated unfairly.
Police said a file had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide on any further action.
Of course, it wouldn't be the first time that Muslims tried to take over a prayer room.
It's happened in Salt Lake City and in Minnesota.