Italian magazine ‘Yalla Italia’ tries to narrow gap with Muslims

New Italian magazine, “Yalla Italia” (Let’s Go, Italy) written predominantly by second generation immigrants, has been launched with the aim to introduce Italians to diverse cultures taking root in the country, and help Muslim immigrants navigate their dual identities. Yalla Italia’s chief editor, Martino Pillitteri, said that he saw the differences between his mission and that of Italian conservatives, as symbolic of the divide in Italy’s Muslim population – “one vision driving toward the past, the other driving toward the future,” he says.

The magazine’s launch thus counters what he believes is a very one-dimensional view of Muslims in the Italian media – one that focuses too much on radicals and suspected terrorist, and is saturated with negativity. For the most part, the magazine’s emphasis is not political and does not try to preach change – but aims to encourage mutual understanding. Yalla Italia was first published in May, 2007, and appears as a monthly insert of Vita – a magazine geared towards the nonprofit sector, and has a circulation of 36,000. Of the magazine’s demographics, “Immigrants are not just people who wash ashore on a beach. We pay taxes, participate in society, strive to integrate. We are the future of Italy, and we want to be protagonists of that future,” says Ouejdane Mejri, a contributor to Yalla Italia.

Scores of immigrants to vote in April elections

Mustapha Mansouri, the head of the New Italian Immigrants Party, predicts that the immigrant vote will be crucial in the upcoming national elections. The party, which is composed mainly of immigrants, states that it has more than 100,000 members at present. During the (parliamentary) elections on April 13, over 200,000 new Italians will vote, while in the administrative elections, other 400,000 foreign residents could vote,” said Mansouri. According to the party’s calculations, approximately 200,000 immigrants have acquired Italian citizenship in just the past five years.