Followers of Islam look for new space for worship and community

3/6/2013

The Islamic community of Varese [a community in Northern Italy] has outgrown it’s meeting space in downtown Verese. New plans include possible spaces in other districts with parking lots. The then Mayor in the early 90s would not allow the center to be called a mosque but rather a community center. The space has become too small for some 3,000 faithful who live in surrounding regions. The current mayor explains that no decisions have been made about where to move the center.

The other side of Italy: Where the kebab frightens more than a sawan-off shotgun

A plethora of Mafia organizations are well rooted in the North of Italy, where they aim not only at laundering but also at controlling the territory, local institutions and tenders. When questioned about this Mafia “emergency,” all Northern League politician’s continuously circumvent the issue at hand and continue to focus on security ordinances against sellers of ethnic food.

Letizia Moratti, mayor of Milan, asked Roberto Maroni, the Italian interior minister, to issue a decree law to allow frisking migrants’ houses in order to find illegal immigrants. The decree against urban blight in action in Via Padova (the street in Milan where clashes between immigrants took place few weeks ago) mandates: kebab shops to close at 10 pm, massage centers to close at 8 pm, discos to close at 2 am, and for restaurants to close by midnight. Many view such a decree to reflect a curfew like environment that one would have experienced during periods of war.

These right wing politicians refuse to even acknowledge the presence of the Mafia in Northern Italy-as evidenced by the lack of mention on the topic in recent electoral campaigns. It has been proven that the murder rate increase, in the last 10 to 25 years, has been perpetuated by the mafia. Despite this, it would seem that the Mafia presence in North Italy is escaping the concerns of it politicians. Instead, “Padania,” the land of the Northern League, has unleashed an ideological war against a presumed “Islamic danger” while ignoring the role of the extremely powerful and dangerous Mafia clans, whose reach encroaches into public works and all big state projects.

Tunisian arrested for terror links

Authorities arrested a Tunisian citizen in the town of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy, who is alleged to have ties with a terrorist cell in charge of sending suicide bombers to Afghanistan and Iraq. Nasr Mourad, a Tunisian citizen living in the city of Novellara, was arrested on account of having links to a terror cell headed by Ben Nasr Mehdi who is believed to have been affiliated with Sabri Dridi, another alleged terrorist leader.

Pig’s walkabout on planned mosque site sparks protests

Italy’s former deputy education minister, Mariella Mazzetto, has sparked protests after parading a pig on the site of a planned mosque in the northern Italian city of Padua. Mazzetto, a member of the populist, anti-immigrant, right-wing party, said the act was in defense of maintaining Italian identity. Pigs are considered an unclean animal in Islam, making the act extremely insensitive for Muslims. Several officials across political lines have condemned Massetto’s offense, including Giancarlo Galen, the right wing president of the Veneto region, Padua’s left-wing mayor Flavio Zononto, and Green party councillor Aurora D’Agostino. In October, Northern League senator and former minister Roberto Calreroli proposed a regular pig day, in which he threatened to take his pet pig on land where Italy’s Muslim communities were planning new mosques. Northern Italy has seen a jump in share of the country’s immigrants, due largely to labor sought for farm and factory work.

In Italy, backlash against migrants grows

Hostility toward immigrants is largely directed at Muslims, making up the largest group of immigrants after Latin Americans, the article states. Described as cancers, fanatics, drug addicts and cheats, fears are amounting especially in Northern Italy, where many factories and farms employ immigrants seeking work.