Italy’s right to curb Islam with mosque law

Reuters – Italy’s right to curb Islam with mosque law

Italy’s Northern League, allies of centre-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, want to limit the growth of Islam in the centre of world Catholicism by blocking the construction of mosques through strict new regulations.

.. Fearing the advent of “Eurabia”, the League has used its control of Berlusconi’s interior ministry since helping him to power to push through tough new laws against illegal immigrants.

It has now turned its attention to the newcomers’ religion, emboldened by polls showing many Italians mistrust Muslims and a third do not want a mosque in their neighbourhood…The League’s anti-Muslim protests have often made headlines, such as when Roberto Calderoli, now a cabinet minister, walked his pet pig on a proposed mosque site to defile the soil or wore a T-shirt of the Prophet Mohammad, triggering riots in Libya.

…Gibelli, the author of the bill awaiting cabinet approval, says mosques discourage integration and “are often places of cultural indoctrination, sometimes linked to international terrorism”. Arguing that Muslims can “pray anywhere” and do not need a mosque, Berlusconi’s allies have blocked Muslims from building their own place of worship in Italy’s business capital, Milan.

… At present requests for mosques to be built are being blocked in Venice, Bologna, Trento and Treviso, among others. In Trento the League has collected 15,000 signatures and in Treviso it has called young local Muslims “extremists, pure and simple”.

The League bill would ban mosques from being built within a kilometre (0.6 miles) of a church, oblige imams to speak Italian, link the size of the mosque to the number of the congregation and forbid muezzins from using loudspeakers to call the faithful to prayer.

… “Nobody wants to build a mosque or open a prayer hall near a Catholic Church,” responds Scialoja, a former Italian ambassador to Saudi Arabia who converted to Islam two decades ago.  “Mosques should be located in areas where Muslims live and where they don’t provoke or create problems for the surrounding Italian population,” he said.

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