June 5, 2013
The Islamic federation of Campania in collaboration with Avis, on June 4, will collaborate for a blood donation day near the headquarters of the Cultural Association Zayd Ibn Thabit in Naples, in via Corradino. This initiative, in conjunction with Charter of Values of the Italian Islamic Confederation are meant to pursue harmony between the Muslim community and all members of the Italian society.
By John Giacalone
May 20, 2013
Prayer at Palasharp 250×149 complex might make it a mosque? Funding is ready from Qatar and others. Qatar Holding has officially announced the purchase of 40% of Porta Nuova, the real estate development plan of more than two billion euro currently under construction in the city’s center, the complex is about 290 thousand square meters. The remaining 60% will continue to be held by the current sponsor, the Texan group Hines. The Qatari holding company is, in fact, known to have holdings ranging from Porsche to Harrods, from Credit Suisse to Paris Saint Germain and has recently supported some of the most famous hotels .
Will the PalaSharp soon be turned into a mosque? There are also rumors of possible funding by private individuals from Qatar and Kuwait, supporting the transformation of the Palasharp Lampugnano, which could become the first large mosque in Milan. The PalaSharp has been used as a place of prayer for many Muslims on Fridays, many of them from the Islamic Cultural Institute in Viale Jenner that could not accommodate all the faithful so many were forced to pray on sidewalks adjacent to the Islamic center, thus creating problems for the circulation and commercial activities.
Milan has no mosque. The fact that Milan still has no large mosque despite the large presence of Muslims in Lombardy (340,000 according to some estimates, but probably more) is inexplicable. It is permissible to ask the question: given that funding most often goes hand in hand with political and ideological conditioning, is it healthy for Italian Muslims to take advantage of funds from abroad, particularly from countries where there is an interpretation of Islam that is ideologically closer to positions that would be out of place in Italy?
The Italian Islamic communities, as such, should be free from external influences in order to foster an Islam that can thrive in harmony within the Italian socio-cultural context, thus facilitating the integration process?
Milan- “It should have been a day of celebration but it has turned in yet another act of discrimination and racism against Muslims.” The ANSA news agency reported the accusations of Sharif Lorenzini, Bari, director of the Italian Islamic Community, with respect to a water park “Acquaneva of Inzago,” in the province of Milan.
At the amusement park which had been sponsored by the Halal consumer association that certifies the quality of products according to the dictates of the Islamic religion. According to Lorenzini the owners of a water park would have rented the waterpark to the group, but then, suddenly, they changed their minds, leaving the organizers in trouble and with a deep sense of disappointment and over 200 participants from all parts of Italy attending.
“We had made arrangements to purchase the structure” explained the President of Halal, Basma Farrag both on price, date, and also the use of the structure. But from one day to the next the owner began to take an arrogant attitude towards us: constantly changing the cards on the table and then on the phone greatly increased the price.” When the group accepted the new terms, the owner told them that they would not have been able to use the slides.
Farrag adds, “we have to cancel the event and there is a strong feeling of disappointment sweeping across the Italian Islamic Community. A feeling that is turning into desire for revenge: we feel the racism and discrimination. And with us there are also many non-Muslim women who were to participate in the event.” Now, the association is considering whether to take legal action against the water park.
BRUSSELS – In recent weeks, many Muslim citizens have been victims of violence in Puglia and also in other cities of Italy which has been carried out by unidentified persons. In Bari a young Muslim and “was hooded and beaten up” executive of the Italian Islamic Community, Sharif Lorenzini, added that the violence began after the April 30 arrest of members of a terrorist cell in Puglia.
A Letter from the Islamic Community to Napolitano (the Newly re-elected President). Italian piazzas have become spaces of heated tensions where popular discontent is most visible. Today, on behalf of the Italian Islamic community Sharif Lorenzini, Vice President of the Islamic Community in Puglia wrote a letter to Giorgio Napolitano, the newly re-elected president. Lorenzini has become the face of resistance against Muslim hostility including leading the charge against those who call for Muslims to leave Italy. Lorenzini called for Napolitano to eliminate all forms of social tensions. If the tensions are not addressed, Muslims will protest in Piazzas across Italy according to Lorenzini.
September 24, 2010
The president of UCOII (Union of Italian Islamic Communities) has written a letter to the President of the Republic denouncing what he considers a serious act of discrimination towards Muslim students in the Brescia area, where the village mayor refuses to accommodate the students’ dietary needs. Currently; the school only serves traditional meals unless a certified medical necessity to avoid pork is proven by the students. The president of the UCOII is requesting of the Republic’s President to: make an official intervention and preserve the basic rights of the Muslims students rights to practice their Islamic beliefs.
A top representative of the Northern League reacted by charging the UCOII of being a fundamentalist organization in the Northern region of Italy. The representative has suggested that the members of UCOII should relocate to other parts of the country. However, the director of the school complex is attempting to subdue the debate by urging mediation and compromise which would exempt Muslim students from having to eat pork.
The opening of mosques in Tuscany always raises opposition from the right wing partie, who have been engaged in a signature collecting campaign to block mosque building. In June or July of this year, the Colle Val D’Elsa mosque will be inaugurated in a climate of hostility and strong opposition led by the Northern League. The mayor of Colle explains that it is sad to realize that although Muslims are honest and integrated workers, there still remains a high level of skepticism, even among the left wing parties.
Izzedin Elzir, a moderate, was recently appointed as president of UCOII (Association of the Italian Islamic Communities) to represent the Association of Muslims in Colle Val D’Elsa. The mayor of Colle acknowledges that stricter construction regulations were imposed in the mosque building process. He is hopeful, that once the Islamic center is open, the public will be more engaged and appreciative of their fellow Muslims.
Furthermore, he stressed the importance of public participation and discussion about such issues, without political implications. He is fighting to expand the center while engaging right wing parties to cooperate. Similar debates are also taking place in through out the Tuscan cities and town of Prato, Grasseto and Livorno.
Yahya Pallavicini, imam of the mosque al-Wahid in Milan, vice-president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community and founder of the International Committee of Imams, and Rabbis and Christians for Peace UNESCO in Paris, has decided to publish his last book “The Merciful. Allah and his Prophets” with a major catholic publishing house in Italy, Edizioni Messaggero.
It is a strong choice in a country that fights the veil and mosques. In Veneto, worshipping space is denied to Muslims and non-catholic religious symbols aren’t accepted. Pallavicini believes that courage is necessary to enhance dialogue, the only way to overcome isolation, prejudices and contrasts.
Spreading knowledge about Allah’s prophets (the same for Muslims, Jewish and Catholics), discusses how to foster integration while avoiding suspicion, fear and ignorance about different traditions. The book tries to facilitate the encounter of two worlds. Following what San Francesco once said regarding the Crusades: “We don’t have to go against anybody, rather we have to go among everybody”, the book seeks to meet the Others upon ideas of mercy and dialogue.
According to Yahya Pallavicini, vice-president of the Italian Islamic religious community, Italian president Giorgio Napolitano is right to inaugurate the Turin book fair, which is celebrating Israel’s right to exit. “I express my complete solidarity with Italy’s president of the republic, Giorgio Napolitano, on behalf of COREIS, and also with the Turin book fair’s director, Ernesto Ferrero,” said Pallavicini. The book fair was planned to mark the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state, as guests participated in Italy’s most prestigious book fair. However, Tariq Ramadan criticized the move, saying that it politicized the event, instead of maintaining a strictly cultural celebration.
ROME (AP) – The editor of an Italian monthly has apologized for any offence to Muslims over a humorous caption for a drawing showing the Prophet Muhammad in hell, Italian news reports said Sunday. The journal Studi Cattolici (Catholic Studies), which offers a variety of opinions on cultural issues, ran the caption and drawing in its March issue. Italian news agencies Sunday quoted the journal’s editor, Cesare Cavalleri, as “apologizing, as a Christian,” for any offence. Milan daily Corriere della Sera said that the journal had run a caption next to the drawing, which was inspired by Dante’s depiction of Muhammad in hell in his Divine Comedy. The Union of Italian Islamic Communities said it had protested the caption. The organization’s secretary, Roberto Piccardo, declined to comment on the reported apology. Cavalleri was quoted as saying the vignette “was interpreted as being anti-Islam when, if anything, it was a denunciation of a cultural identity crisis in the West,” the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Cavalleri as saying. “In any case, if, contrary to my and the author’s intentions, someone felt offended in his religious feelings, I willingly apologize as a Christian.” News reports said Cavalleri is a member of Opus Dei, a conservative religious organization that had the favour of the late pope John Paul. Opus Dei on its website said that while it had no responsibility for the magazine, “we desire to apologize for any offence that was made.” Muslims make up a small percentage of people in predominantly Roman Catholic Italy. Earlier this year, a minister in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government was forced to resign after wearing a T-shirt with a caricature of Muhammad on state TV. The incident was blamed for rioting in Libya against Italian interests.