The islamic third way

The famous Italian historian, Franco Cardini, asks whether the time has come for Italy to examine Islam in a peaceful way, avoiding stereotypes and demagogic strategies. He admits, however, that looking at recent national events, there is not much hope. More precisely, he refers to the new Committee for Islam set up by the Italian Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni (Northern League). This Committee, in Cardini’s view, might be e troubling sign because it includes notorious Italian Islamophobes as well as people that are highly critical of Islam, while excluding UCOII, one of the most important and large Islamic associations in the country. This lack of balance has caused the resignation of the Committee’s president, Mario Scialoja, who is well known as a moderate Muslim leader. As Cardini points out, the integration of the more than 1.5 million of Muslims remains unresolved. Another issue which this historian highlights in this article as in urgent need of conversation and talk, witch might change the way that the Italian public and its politicians has viewed the Muslim Brotherhood, broadly labeled and considered a fundamentalist and terrorist organization, even though it has never been seriously investigated. Emblematic, in this respect, is the fate of Tariq Ramadan, one of the most intelligent and interesting representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. He is often considered to be a dangerous agitator and was even prevented from entering France. This is indicative, says Cardini, of our low level of understanding of Islam. He recommends a book, recently published in Italy by two famous Italian Islamologists, dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood in the contemporary world. What emerges from this study is a complex image of the group which, besides supporting certain guerrilla activities, is clearly widening and deepening its social and welfare commitments. The crucial question, then, is whether it will be able to play a leading role in setting up an autochthonous model of democracy in the Arab world, rather than the one favored in the West.

Italian senator calls for ‘Pig Day’ to defile Mosque site

A far-right senior Italian senator, called for a “Pig Day” protest against the planned construction of a mosque in northern Italy. Roberto Calderoli of the anti-immigrant Northern League party said last Thursday that he was ready to bring his own pig to “defile” the site where the mosque is due to be built in the northern city of Bologna. “I am making myself and my pig available for a walk at the site where they want to build the mosque,” Calderoli, who is a deputy speaker of Italy’s Senate, said in a statement. “Those words are highly offensive and indecent, especially as they are coming from an Italian lawmaker,” Mario Scialoja, a prominent leader of Italy’s Muslim minority, told Reuters. Calderoli also said he would eat “a nice plateful of pork chops to show my lack of sympathy for those who consider pork forbidden meat.”

Muslim league chairman says Italy “full of dangerous fundamentalists”

Text of report by Italian newspaper La Stampa on 22 July [Interview with former Italian ambassador Mario Scialoja, chairman of Muslim League in Italy, by Giacomo Galeazzi in Rome; date not given: “‘Too Many Fanatics. Italy, Look Out'” – first paragraph is La Stampa introduction] Rome – “We are looking at real criminal activities here. It is no coincidence that the imam of Perugia is a Moroccan. Italy is full of dangerous fundamentalists who flee moderate Islamic countries and come over here to commit crimes, dealing in drugs and work permits.” [Former] Ambassador Mario Scialoja, chairman of the Muslim League in Italy, and a member of the Consultative Committee for Islam, was “very worried,” and made no secret of the fact. “The Perugia affair is a huge case of the inappropriate use of a place which ought to be devoted to religion – he said – Within the Islamic community there is a lack of any control, only the secret services can uncover such serious violations of the law.” He added: “An official register is needed for imams in Italy. And a training course is necessary. Monitoring of the Muslim community is needed. But this does not prevent an individual from carrying out illegal activities, such as those in Perugia, or as happened in Britain. In these instances, it is the intelligence services and the police which can intervene.” {[Galeazzi] So do you agree with the alert at the Viminale [interior ministry] over fundamentalism?} [Scialoja] Yes, without doubt [Interior] Minister Giuliano Amato has every cause. The Perugia investigation shows that threatening, underground networks are in action. Fortunately, the intelligence services and the DIGOS [Division for General Investigations and Special Operations] are proving to be efficient, and are being fairly successful in preventing crime, and bringing the crimes to light. According to information from my friends at the interior ministry, in Italy there 630 mosques and prayer rooms. Five have ended up under investigation for illegal activities, but often the examining magistrates have acquitted the people who have had reports made out against them. This is the point: the fact that the cases which have emerged are isolated, to date, does not make the phenomenon less worrying. They are extreme and dangerous fringe groups which take action in the shadows.

‘Positive Nuove Norme, Ora Semplificare Procedure Burocratiche’

Riconoscere la cittadinanza italiana ai figli di una coppia di immigrati di cui almeno uno sia residente regolarmente nel nostro paese _ “una scelta logica per un paese come l’Italia che _ diventato terra di immigrazione”: _ il commento di Mario Scialoja, presidente della sezione italiana della lega musulmana mondiale, all’istituto dello ‘ius solis’ introdotto nella normativa sull’immigrazione varata oggi dal Consiglio dei ministri. Introdurre lo ‘ius solis’ era stata una delle richieste avanzate al ministro dell’Interno, Giuliano Amato, da parte della Consulta per l’islam italiano di cui Sicaloja fa parte. Quanto all’insieme del pacchetto approvato dal governo, l’esponente musulmano sottolinnea che si tratti di misure “positive”. “E’ bene abbreviare il termine per ottenere la cittadinanza, ora per_ bisognerebbe facilitare le procedure burocratiche per l’ottenimento della cittadinanza, che sono attualmente una corsa ad ostacoli”.

Italy’s Interior Minister Presents Members Of Islamic Council

Two imams and the leaders of two main Muslim associations in Italy were among the appointed members of a newly created advisory council aimed at developing dialogue between the Italian government and the Muslim community, the interior minister confirmed Wednesday. Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu, presenting the 16 members of the council in Rome, said moderate Islamic representatives are “our natural allies in the fight against extremism.” “The council is the hand that we stretch out to moderate Muslims in order to move on together on the path of integration,” Pisanu told. “Many of the members have already taken an official position against terrorism,” he added. Half of the council members have Italian nationality, while the others are a Tunisian, two Moroccans, a Libyan, an Algerian, a Somali, an Albanian and a Senegalese. There are about 1.1 million Muslims in Italy, an overwhelmingly Catholic country of about 58 million people. Among the members of the council are Italian imam Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, based in Milan, and Algerian Rachid Amadia, imam of Salerno, southern Italy. Mario Scialoja, the president of the Muslim World League in Italy, and Mohamed Nour Dachan, head of the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy, were also appointed. The Islamic council, which was created in September, responds directly to the Interior Ministry, and is responsible for counseling the government on various issues concerning the integration of Muslims, the AP reports.