Islamic leaders are welcoming a proposal to include an international forum on promoting debate in the Muslim world at the Venice Biennale arts festival. Former president of the Venice Biennale, dedicated the theme of the 1977 Venice Biennale to dissent – in relation to Communist countries of the eastern bloc. He called for this contemporary similar proposal, concerning Islamic dissent. Ahmad Vincenzo, president of the Association of Muslim Intellectuals and lecturer at the Federico II University in Naples, stated I imagine that it would speak about dissent with regard to the regimes of many countries that have an Islamic majority. Not dissent towards Islam as a religion. Karima Moual, president of the Association of Young Moroccans also supported the proposal, as an initiative [that] would benefit if it made people from the Arab Islamic world participate […] I believe that the real problem in our countries is the absence of debate.
The president of the Association of Muslim Intellectuals, Ahmad Vincenzo, said that Muslim women in Italy should not be forced to wear the veil. “Women should be free to choose if they want to wear the veil or not, considering that it is not a religious duty to do so, said Vincenzo. He also expressed that the choice should be left up to young women concerning the wearing of the garment in schools, but expressed that the exploitation of the veil could lead to the creation of an Islamist uniform for female Muslims.
For the first time in the country’s history, almost all party lists in Italy’s mid-April elections will contain at least one Muslim candidate. Among the hopefuls include Souad Sbai, the Moroccan Women’s Association president, also a member of Italy’s Consulta Islamica, a government’ appointed consultative body for Muslims in Italy. Italy’s Northern League has its eyes set on Moroccan-born Zakkaria Najibi, a local councillor in Padua, and strong opponent of illegal immigration. The centre-left Democrat party is expected to court sociology lecturer and columnist Khaled Fouad Allam, while the Values party is urging for support of Islamic studies lecturer Ahmad Vincenzo as a candidate for the Senate.