Tuscany: Islam and intergration through mosques

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.