August 18, 2010
The vice president of the regional council for immigration in Veneto, a Muslim of Moroccan origin, has acknowledged that pedophilia also exists within the Muslim community and has been further facilitated by the cover up of some imams. Civil society, he says, should prevent such phenomena working specifically with mothers in order for them to recognize the signs in their children of abuse. It is important, he continues, to raise awareness within the Muslim community on this topic; so as to identify and face the problem in order effectively implement preventative policies.
August 22, 2010
Coop and Carrefour, two famous brands of supermarket, are planning to sell halal meat in their stores in the region of Piedmont. The supermarkets actions will simply the life of the Piedmontese Muslim community; however on the other hand it has triggered a passionate debate by animal rights associations which have launched a boycott and information campaign. The animal rights groups are critical of the Islamic method of killing animals, which calls for the animal to be conscious when it is slaughtered. The traditional procedure adopted by Italian supermarkets, instead, requires that the animal is anaesthetized before being killed so as to reduce the suffering, which leads to lower levels of toxins in the animal’s blood and flesh. To tone down the controversy, Coop has assured that the Imam responsible for the slaughtering has accepted the use of anesthesia. However, it will be the Muslim consumers, who represent a growing segment of the Italian market that will decide the success of this initiative.
August 11, 2010
The vice president of the regional committee for immigration and the leader of Moroccan Communities of Treviso have been informed by the Consul of Morocco in Verona; of an initiative undertaken by the Moroccan government to send two theologians to the regions Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. The two envoys will travel around these regions during the period of Ramadan to teach to Imams the correct Sunni interpretation of the doctrine. They will focus on moderation, openness and dialogue with all religions. The aim of the initiative is to counter the widespread stereotypes surrounding Islam as a violent, extremist and threatening religion. The meetings will be open to Islamic and non Islamic audience in order to promote the idea of Islam as a tolerant and peaceful faith. The initiative has been welcomed even by the Northern League’s regional assessor. However, he has urged the Muslim community to ensure that the sermons are delivered in Italian in order to discern the contents conveyed, and to work on an official register for imams.
August 17, 2010
The association “Alternativa Culturale dei Marocchini in Italia” (Cultural Alternative of Italian Moroccans) is providing for Iftar to Moroccan prisoners in the Lazio region during the period of Ramadan. This project is coordinated by the foundation Hassan II and the Ministry of Moroccan Community Abroad. The Guarantor of the prisoners’ rights in the region Lazio has welcomed the initiative and the directors of many prisons in the region are checking its feasibility. The plan, says the Guarantor, has undeniable social value as it facilitates a connection between the detainees and the outside world. This is of particular importance considering the difficulty that overcrowded Italian prisons are facing. The initiative, in fact, encourages the detainees toward social rehabilitation.
Sumaya Abdel Kader wears the hijab, adores Queen, speaks Italian perfectly and is even planning to take her second degree. She strongly opposes the common idea that veiled women are jinxed hidden under a curtain. She is a 32 years old woman that wears the veil according to the new Islamic fashion which respects young Muslim women willingness not to become ugly and let themselves go. Sumaya is an Italian citizen, born in Perugia from Jordanian-Palestinian parents and is Muslim. She is proud of her mixed cultural heritage. She is well accepted by the majority of both Italians and Muslims who have acknowledged the multicultural reality of Italy. This popularity is testified by her participation in many events and conferences all around the country to publicize her book “Porto il velo e adoro i Queen”, “I Wear the Veil and Adore Queen”. What she doesn’t like of the Italian society is the fact that wearing the veil is still very difficult. Usually, in fact, those who chose to veil are subject to discrimination, especially at work. Moreover, many people express stupor at her playful and sunny temperament, as her way of being was in contradiction with her way of dressing. She underlines the difficulties she usually faces also with certain Islamic immigrants who, for example, see being a Muslim in contradiction with choosing to speak Italian with her children. But she doesn’t perceive any contradiction in it as she considers herself Italian (she has just obtained the Italian citizenship after having waited for 13 years!).
Roberto Maroni, the Italian interior minister, has ordered the immediate repatriation for security reasons of two Moroccan students at the University of Perugia. According to the investigations, the two foreigners were declared highly dangerous since they were ready to commit acts of terrorism in the country. Although the students were not in contact with the international terrorist net but were “self-trained” via the Internet, they were nonetheless deemed a serious threat for our country and therefore expelled.
A Moroccan Muslim man has been imprisoned for continuously threatening and abusing his wife. The wife is a 43 year educated woman, with two sons, and was offered a job as an Arabic language teacher at an army base, Ancona. Her husband forced her to quit the job using violence, threats and insults. Her Moroccan Muslim husband holds very orthodox views and disapproves of her potential interactions with male students. After putting up with years of abuse and his insistence that she stay at home to raise their children—the woman has finally obtained a separation. Despite, the separation and court orders to maintain distance, the husbands assaults did not subside and has landed him in jail until next October.
A Muslim newborn girl has died at the hospital of Udine. Her parents decided to bury their daughter in the cemetery of Paderno (a village in the province of Udine); where one year earlier the Muslim community obtained from the municipality a specific area in the local cemetery. The community, in fact, was unable to afford the repatriation of their deceased. At which time a huge fight ensued between the mayors of Paderno (center left wing party) supporting the Muslim community’s request, and the Northern League and the priest of the village rejecting it. After the recent burial, the protests by the Northern League have flared up again, with public manifestations and the collection of signatures. Even the spokesman of the national center-right coalition (PDL), claimes that the episode represents an offense of the Catholic traditions.
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.
Izzedin Elzir, the newly elected president of the Union of the Islamic Communities in Italy (UCOII), has stated that Italian language must be adopted by all the imams. The moderate leader that is also attentive to the interfaith dialogue wants to loosen the traditional tie of its association with the Muslim Brotherhood. He underlined some crucial points; such as the need for transparency and for greater integration by Muslims into Italian society. He also expressed his commitment to make the Italian language the common idiom for the plethora of Muslim communities. His goal is to attain an agreement with the Italian state, which entails funding for Islamic places of worship. He also articulated his position concerning other hot button issues: on the veil, for example, he stated that although he thinks the face should be uncovered, it would be wrong to regulate by law matters that infringe upon freedom of choice. Regarding the knowledge of the Italian constitution and language as the prerequisite for obtaining a resident permit, he claimed that such knowledge is fundamental. He went on to state, that it is important to avoid propaganda but rather cooperate with the institutions and employers to set up workable laws which are able to counteract clandestine practices. Finally, asked on the issue of crucifix in the schools, he highlighted the need for approaches that are inclusive of other cultures.