Islam: Tomorrow the Festival of Sacrifice, CII prays for the dead in Lampedusa

Muslims around the world will celebrate the Islamic Festival of Sacrifice tomorrow (Eid al Adha). The festival celebrates the sacrifice made by Abraham mentioned in the Qur’an. This is the biggest holiday of the Muslim world and it coincides with end of the pilgrimage to Mecca. In some countries, such as Morocco, this festival is held the day after tomorrow. In Italy, about two million Muslims will pray tomorrow morning in mosques and in stadiums throughout the country. The most important prayer is scheduled in the Great Mosque of Rome, where about twenty thousand people will gather. The Islamic Italian Confederation (CII) sent a message of greetings for those celebrating. For the occasion, considering what is happening on the coast of Lampedusa, CII decided to hold a special prayer for migrants who died trying to reach our country and remember the tragedy of what is happening along the Sicilian coast.

International Business Times: http://it.ibtimes.com/articles/57488/20131014/islam.htm

Immigrants: Imam Catania Makes Plea for Cemetery in Catania

(Adnkronos) – “We are still sad, our hearts cry for the innocent victims of Lampedusa, we pray for their souls so that these people can rest in peace. For many years we ask the cemetery for us Muslims. We are in trouble, and I know that in Catania, for example, the city administration is working very hard to make it happen. Right now in the south of Italy there is just a cemetery for Muslims in Reggio Calabria.” Said the Imam of Catania, Mufid Abu Touq , emphasizing the difficulties of sending bodies back to their country of origin. “Normally for our dead we ship them to their country of origin. But this costs around 3-4 thousand euro, and not everyone can deal with this expense and so some are buried in local Christian cemeteries, although this, to tell the truth” he concludes “is against the rules of Islam.”

Muslims pray for the dead off of the coast of Lampedusa: “The Bossi-Fini Laws are absurd”

Cagliari Muslims will pray tomorrow for the victims of those who died off the coast of Lampedusa. The announcement came from Silaman Hjiazi, spokesman who said, “Tomorrow’s prayer is dedicated to those who have vanished in the waters of Lampedusa.

 

After hearing the horrible news of yet another boat sinking, it is dishonorable that the Italian government and the European government has yet to find a solution, the implementation of the Bossi-Fini law is not working, we need a solution to stop these tragedies.

 

It would be a great gesture on the part of Italy to declare a national day devoted to those who have vanished in the sea and set to work on a law that would address these problems, until then we are all at fault.“

From Magdi Allam in Lampedusa: The Revolution of the Church

July 8, 2013

Comparing Ratzinger and Bergoglio would be wrong. Also unfair. These are two Popes who we respect and appreciate.

However, it is hard not to notice the images and words, which also changed in the age of communication. Personally, I still think of the scene, broadcast on television around the world, of the baptism of Magdi Allam, made personally by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica during the Easter Vigil of 2008.

The same Allam that, after the election of Bergoglio, five years later said: “My conversion to Catholicism is no longer. The legitimacy of Islam as the true religion Allah as the true God, Muhammad as a true prophet, and the Koran as the sacred text and the mosque as a place of worship, these things more than any other factor drove me away from the Church. I’m rather convinced that Islam is an inherently violent ideology. Even more I am convinced that Europe will end up being submissive to Islam, as has already happened since the seventh century. Christians will not have the vision and the courage to denounce the incompatibility of Islam with civilization and the fundamental rights of the person.”

Today in Lampedusa, the Pope came to bear witness to the tragedy of migrants. Most of them are Muslim; men faced the risk of death (and many die) to escape from hunger, misery and despair. To them the Pope sent his best wishes for the start of Ramadan. Horror, for many. But not for the ideals of ​​the Church of Pope Francis.

From Magdi Allam in full regalia to the choice of being among the poor and the outcasts of Lampedusa. The pope’s presence is a blow to the globalization of indifference and intolerance.

Pope: with Muslims, Francis did not disappoint. After Ramadan a greeting “O’scia” [local dialect greeting] in Lampedusa

July 8, 2013

“It’s a historic gesture,” “beautiful words”: the Islamic Italian community welcomes with enthusiasm and gratitude the words of the Pope, who, now in Lampedusa has addressed Muslims: “to the dear Muslim immigrants who are tonight beginning the fast of Ramadan, the pope also wished them “O’scia” an affectionate greeting in the local Lampedusan dialect which means “my breath.”

“The Pope confirmed expectations that have sustained Muslims and immigrants about openness to dialogue and the promotion of tolerance” says Sherif El Sebaie, Egyptian intellectual and member of the Islamic Community in Turin “this is what we expected with from the new pontificate, and the Pope did not disappoint.”

The president of UCOII (Union of Islamic Italian Communities), Ezzildin Elzir explained “the beautiful words of the pope have meaning and are very important.”

Elzir emphasized “an interfaith dialogue which for previous decades has continued with the Catholic Church” and he also recalls how Pope John Paul II called for “our Christian brethren to dedicate a day of sharing with Muslims, October 27.” “This, I think, is the reality of the Muslim and Christian world: our dialogue, which will continue while we share our spirituality” the leader of UCOII added “Francis’s message is very important at this historical moment, in which the southern shores of the Mediterranean are experiencing very difficult times: people of good will can see this is a very important part in the world, more than 1 and a half billion Christians, have a hand open to dialogue and discussion. I believe that in this way we can overcome the extremists of this or that part.”

Speaking of “historical gestures” the president of the Community of the Arab world in Italy (Comai), Foad Aodi, expressed, on behalf of the whole community “gratitude” for the choice of the Pope to go to Lampedusa. He explained Francis’s gesture “is unique, important and tangible to remember all those invisible dead fallen in the sea of ​​Sicily” and “to remind politicians to field constructive solutions and human resources to help immigrants in distress — for the poor and refugees.” And it was “very significant” to visit  “Lampedusa one day before the start of Ramadan, the holy month in Islam and also for immigrants, refugees and Muslim prisoners who are about to fast even though they are in very difficult conditions.”

The president of the Islamic center in Viale Jenner in Milan, Abdel Hamid Shaari, also appreciated the gesture, “it is a good thing that the Pope will travel to Lampedusa to meet those poor people who pay a high price to get to Italy.” “We thank you and say” he added “that we are open to any dialogue and inter-religious meetings.”

Lampedusa awaits the Pope who will meet Muslim Immigrants

7/7/2013

 

Last minute preparations are being made on the Island for the arrival of the Pope on Monday morning at 9:15. Likely 15,000 in attendance, the mayor: “A visit at no cost thanks to the involvement of citizens”.

 

The Pope will meet one of the fifty Muslim refugees at Pier Favaloro in Lampedusa. This was confirmed by the parish priest of the island, Don Stefano Nastas. “We chose” explains Fr Stepheno “men, women, children, and youth. They are representative of those who are at the reception center.” For the Pope’s visit, 15,000 people are expected, including thousands of pilgrims.

The Program. The Pope will depart from Ciampino Airport at 8 am and at 9:15 am will land on the island where he will be welcomed by the Archbishop of Agrigento, Francesco Montenegro, and the Mayor of Pelagie, Giusi Nicolini. Off the coast, near the port of Europe, He will launch a wreath in memory of those who lost their lives at sea. At 9:30, a boat will enter the port where customarily immigrants arrive. At 10, the mass. Papa Francesco use a chalice made ​​with wooden pieces from the boats of immigrants. At 11:30, the pontiff will reach the parish of St. Gerland. At 12:30 will leave the parish and will go to the airport at 12:45 where he will land at Ciampino airport an hour later. During his visit, the Pope will meet with, as mentioned, a delegation of 50 migrants who are housed at the reception center on the island.

Thousands Flee the Tunisian Crisis

After the recent uprisings in Tunisia, thousands (more than 5.000) of people are fleeing the country and have landed in the Isle of Lampedusa. The situation of humanitarian emergency has been declared by the Interior Minister Roberto Maroni and by the Council of Ministers. Maroni has asked the European Union to help Italy tackling this difficult situation.

There has been a bit of an argument between the Italian Interior Minister, who accused Europe to be unresponsive and ineffective, and the European Commissioner for the Interior Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom, who expressed a sincere concern for the situation and offered to allocate funds to tackle the emergence. So far, Maroni has noticed, nothing concrete has followed such promising statements.

In the meantime, Maroni has warned against the risks of terrorism and expressed a deep worry for public order and security in Lampedusa. The Tunisian government, in fact, does not have the control of its territory, especially of the coasts from where people leave on board of boats (people pay around 1/1.500 Euro for the journey). Tunisia, in other words, is unable to comply with the bilateral agreement with Italy concerning immigration. As a consequence, among those who reach Italy, there are dangerous criminals and potential terrorists. In order to address this problem, Maroni has asked the Tunisian Prime Minister the permission for the Italian police to monitor at least the major ports of the Northafrican country. After the strong refusal expressed by the Tunisian executive, Italy has turned to the EU asking for the intervention of FRONTEX, the European agency for borders. EU institutions, however, recognize that the issue concerns all Europe and requires a participated commitment.

The Interior Minister has convened the National Committee for Order and Security and has appointed the major of Lampedusa as the Commissioner for the Emergency, endowed with special power. Maroni and Berlusconi have also decided to devolve new buildings to Asylum seekers.

The situation in Lampedusa is serious. The reception centre in the Island is hosting the majority of the newcomers whose number, however, exceeds the actual capacity of the structure. Some refugees have been sent to other centers in Sicily and in the south of Italy. In the last few days, however, the arrivals seem decreased. The situation remains critical. Moreover, many have died in the sea since mid January, trying to reach Italy. The Church is pressing politicians to tackle the situation not only through legal tools but also showing human solidarity toward a tragedy of biblical proportions.

Charity concert to raise awareness about immigrants

Two concerts were held on the island of Lampedusa to raise awareness about the plight of illegal immigrants. International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo said that “the concerts can do that little extra bit to help the Italian public and institutions understand the problems these people face.” Di Giacomo added that the migrants, who arrive to Lampedusa almost daily, are likely trying to achieve political asylum, and many are fleeing war and political persecution. IOM regional representative Peter Schatzzer said that he hopes the concerts will send a message of solidarity between Italy and other Mediterranean countries.

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Hundreds of child immigrants arrive alone, says NGO

According to NGO Save the Children, hundreds of children who arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa seeking refuge, arrived without parents or guardians. Of the 775 illegal migrant children who arrived on Lampedusa in the past three months, Save the Children cited that 82% arrived alone. According to the organization, the majority of children came from Etitrea, Somalia, Nigeria, and a lesser number from Ghana, Togo, Sudan, and the Palestinian territories. The report by Save the Children is part of a wider program called Praesidium III, jointly conducted with the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, and the Red Cross.

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1,000 illegal immigrants moved from overflowing holding centre

Upwards of 1,000 illegal immigrants are being moved from a holding center in Lampedusa to the Italian mainland, after 900 migrants reached the island in the past few days, and an overflow was cited as concern. Most of those moved included men, women, and children seeking asylum to the country. The Italian Interior Ministry said that the migrants received medical checks as initial identification checks were attempted to be made with the help of United Nations refugee and aid organizations, and cultural mediators. Lampedusa’s mayor said that the holding center was in near collapse and urged the Vatican to open the doors of its convents and seminaries to host some of the illegal migrants. The Vatican has not yet responded to the call at time of posting.