Racism against minorities in Rome on the rise, says community leader

After several immigrants of South Asian backgrounds were beaten in Rome in the last couple of weeks, a leader of the Pakistani community in the city said that episodes of racism in the Italian capital are on the rise. “Episodes of racism are on the rise in Rome, above all in certain neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city which are full of hate and frustration,” said Ejaz Ahmad of the Consulta Islamica. Ahmed cited deteriorated conditions of neighborhoods in which minorities live, saying that there are political interests involved in the lack of concern for neighborhood infrastructure. Most recently, a Pakistani immigrant was left in a coma after being beaten last week by five Italian youths, in what investigators are saying was a racially-motivated attack.

Federation of Italian mosques mooted

Giuliano Amato, Italy’s outgoing interior minister, was expected to unveil a proposed federation of Italian mosques in Italy. The federation is intended to replace the Consulta Islamica, a body set up in 2005 by the Italian government, to represent various Muslim groups in the country. Amato put the Consulta Islamica on hold after several members fro Italy’s largest Islamic group, the UCOII, refused to sign a _charter of values’ in 2007 for Italy’s religious minorities. Under Amato’s proposition, the federation would contain 25 mosques – in addition to the 22 represented and headed by Rome’s mosque – which are linked to the Union of Italian Muslims, led by the imam of Turin. Amato was expected to present blueprints of the plans to journalists last week. It has the support of most members of the Consulta Islamica, who signed the Charter of Values.

Democratic Party out of touch, says former MP

Former MP Khaled Fouad Allam is expressing his dissatisfaction with Italy’s recent parliamentary elections, citing the loss of representation by Italy’s centre-left Democratic party due to a philosophical breakdown within the party. Allam accused the centre-left of “eulogizing (US Democratic presidential hopeful) Barack Obama and calling his candidacy epoch-making, while failing to field a single new Italian citizen as a candidate on its lists.” Commenting on Berlusconi’s win and the gains of the Northern League, Allam expressed concern that little progress would be made from this election, except that: “Italy will maintain and seek to strengthen its relations with the Arab world – its dependence on it for oil and gas make any change of direction inadvisable.” Allam is a member of Consulta Islamica, a government appointed body to represent various Muslim communities in Italy.http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=1.0.2086449437

Parties woo Muslim candidates for April polls

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.