A Discussion for the Majority: A New Islamic cultural center in Verese

August 6, 2013

The Cultural Center brought up by the Associazione Unione Musulmani Varesini is expected to make some noise. This afternoon at the recent council meeting, the last before the summer break, the request was discussed to find a building to accommodate a cultural center.

After the postponement of last week’s discussions which were already on the agenda, the City’s planning department and the League’s Fabio Binelli, brought the issue to the foreground to seek the advice of fellow councilors. This advice is considered only as a technical point of view, but the councilors may have more say. Advice was sought to avoid the risk that this issue may become yet another quarrel in the center-right’s majority government in Rome.

“There must be made a ‘change of use’ license given and at the moment, without a full meeting, it is not feasible” said the commissioner Binelli. At this point everything is waiting on a new meeting, when the city, according to the regional law 12 of 2005, must identify the places of worship in the city. But does the law apply to a cultural center? “It’s an application is very ambiguous, the application says the site will be used as a cultural center, and also a place of worship, but here there is a risk that you mix the two.” But Binelli also expressed a concern: “I’m worried that if this new cultural center is open, it will become a principal center for the whole province, a fact that do not consider in line with our electoral mandate.”

Pineda de Mar buys a place to set a mosque to the Muslim community

31 July 2013


The municipality of Pineda de Mar (Maresme) has bought a place to set in a civic center for the Muslim community[1].
Jordi Masnou, Town Planning, has argued that the goal is “to provide a suitable place to the entities and associations to develop all kinds of activities.”
For more than half a year that the City and the Muslim community have been searching for a site in the industrial park suitable to be an Islamic worship center, once discarded the option of moving the site to a warehouse in the district of Les Creus due to the neighborhood’s opposition.

[1] According to the Organic Law of Religious Freedom  “Ley Orgánica de Libertad Religiosa (7/1980); autonomous regions have full legislative powers in what concerns urban planning and funding. Therefore specific construction and legality of each of the mosques or places of worship will depend on the specific legal implementation by regional and local administrations.


Islam: Bitonci to Alfano and Kyenge: In Padua, Open Mosques Become Hotels

July 1, 2013


“It’s just a matter of money” some members of the Moroccan community in Padua say they quarreled among themselves about economic issues and, it seems, can no longer pray together. For this reason they want another mosque, in a district which is already suffering, where integration is made impossible by immigrant riots who are without work. Numerous places of worship are transformed, little by little, into shelters, kitchens and hotels, as seen in the Bengali mosque in Via Jacopo da Montagnana. So Bitonci Massimo, president of the Northern League, has submitted an urgent request to ministers Alfano and Kyenge: “Padua is dying. Tourists and young people do not know how to spend thier free time. Do you want a curfew imposed on the center premises, because there is little investment into the city. The case is emblematic of Via Bernina: where there was a disco, now you want to raise another mosque. The project of the municipality is revealed: to transform our city to another Mecca, from which young people and entrepreneurs are forced to flee, while the various forms of humanity that revolve around places of worship create makeshift shelters.”

A Mosques in Salerno: “No” from Cirielli, Celano, Peduto

Discussed was the idea of ​​creating a mosque in Salerno, which was started days ago by the mayor Vincenzo De Luca. Not in accordance, to start with, is the deputy of Fratelli d’Italia, Edmund Cirielli: “The idea of ​​building a mosque in Salerno as a center of Islamic culture is not justifiable. I do not see a need to do so.” he said.

“Building a new structure, would mean further contributing to the overbuilding of a city that already suffers from over land use due to decisions made in recent years by De Luca: the creation of a mosque, however, could be a magnet for other Muslim immigrants and I do not think Salerno can afford this luxury with all the problems of daily life,” said Ciriello. To conclude, councilor Roberto Celano said: “At a time of great economic difficulty, such as the one we are experiencing, proposing the idea of ​​building a mosque in Salerno, is entirely misplaced and inappropriate. The mayor seems to want to pursue visibility at all costs with proposals that, in his opinion, are innovative and would focus on his administration, but in reality they are do not support the city.”

“In the absence of a national law that gives clear guidance with respect to the freedom of religion but also guarantees the safety and support of the Italian citizens, the mayor, in his current capacity, will promote a law that regulates the building of places of worship which would actually be in conflict with the Italian state, “said Peduto.

A Dialogue with Islam but with the denunciation of fundamentalism

In a speech, Cardinal Angelo Scola commented on the image of the boundary, proposed as the theme for the tenth meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Oasis Foundation. The two days of meetings also mark the tenth anniversary of the Oasis organization, conceived by Scola; the meeting and anniversary brought together some seventy scholars, Christians and Muslims. And it is the reality of the contemporary period especially with echoes of the protests in Turkey, and with complete transition far from being accomplished in the countries following the riots of 2011 – which all confirmed the basis of the Oasis Foundation: that we are in a delicate moment of transition.

Christians and Muslims are increasingly faced with the need create two opposite poles, both of which are dangerous: that of a secularism that – in the words of the French philosopher Rémi Brague, who spoke yesterday at the meeting “persuades those to disregard the question of God.”

In this context the archbishop was asked about the issue of the construction of a possible mosque in Milan: “The right to religious freedom fails if we refuse to provide places of worship” the cardinal explained “But to apply it in practice, the authorities have the task of verifying who is in command. And the mosque must fit in context. For example, a mosque should not be built on a building that housed a church.”

The Islamic community of Bilbao protests against the places of worship law

14 June 2013
More than a hundred members of the Bilbao Muslim community expressed their dissatisfaction about the new law ruling the places of worship during a demonstration at the esplanade of the Guggenheim Museum.
According to the law which is to be approved at the end of the month, no mosque or other type place of worship can be located in the city of Bilbao, pushing all new construction on the outskirts of the town.
A spokesman for the Muslim community, Othman Gomez Kortazar, considered the law a “serious attack” to the Islamic community and to all other religions. “The City Hall does not want to see in Bilbao people with different customs and beliefs” complained Gomez to the reporters.
He also lamented the unwillingness of the City Hall to dialogue and to try to reach a solution with the Muslim organizations. The president of the Al Furkan, Moulay Idriss Sadiki, demanded respect for  freedom of worship.

Tarragona wants the new religious centers to be transferred into the industrial areas

10 January 2013

Tarragona City Council will make a priority to transfer the new centers of worship into the outskirts of the city. This was confirmed by Councilman of Urbanisme Carles Castillo who argued that the will of the local executive is “to not disturb the neighbors.” Therefore, he said the first option is that future religious premises will be located in the industrial areas, “although it will leave the door open for the implantation of these centers in the urban areas as long as they fullfil the soundproofing measures.”Over recent months, the Municipal Police closed several places of worship in the city.

Catalonia: First Region in terms of Mosques

Catalonia is the region with more mosques in Spain, according to the Observatory of Religious Pluralism in Spain, under the Ministry of Justice. The Principality has 242 mosques in comparison with other communities like Andalucia (180) or Madrid (106). Overall, there are 1,200 mosques officially registered in Spain.

Of the 242 Muslim places of worship in Catalonia: 146 are in the province of Barcelona, 40 in the province of Girona, 28 in Lleida and 28 in Tarragona. Barcelona is the city with the more Mosques (24), but other smaller municipalities of the province also have more than one: Santa Coloma de Gramenet (8), Terrassa (7), Sabadell (5), Badalona (4) and Martorell (4).


*The news here present were already mentioned in July of 2012 but they surfaced again in the lst week of December; here there are images of the Mosques concentration in the region:



*In the link bellow there is a list of the existent Mosques in the region:



CAIR Issues Report on August Spike in Anti-Mosque Incidents

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/18/2012) — A national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today issued a preliminary report on a spike in anti-mosque incidents that occurred in late August following a massacre of Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek, Wis.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reports that in the 13-day period between August 6 and August 18, there were eight incidents in which Muslim places of worship were targeted. As a comparison, in the first seven months of 2012 there were 10 such incidents.

CAIR’s report comes one day before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights plans to hold a hearing on hate crimes and domestic extremism. It comes just after a mosque in Virginia was vandalized in an apparent bias incident.

New Book: Religion in Public Spaces – A European Perspective

Religion in Public Spaces: A European Perspective

Ashgate, September 2012

Edited by Silvio Ferrari and Sabrina Pastorelli, both at The University of Milan, Italy Series : Cultural Diversity and Law in Association with RELIGARE

This timely volume discusses the much debated and controversial subject of the presence of religion in the public sphere. The book is divided in three sections. In the first the public/private distinction is studied mainly from a theoretical point of view, through the contributions of lawyers, philosophers and sociologists. In the following sections their proposals are tested through the analysis of two case studies, religious dress codes and places of worship. These sections include discussions on some of the most controversial recent cases from around Europe with contributions from some of the leading experts in the area of law and religion.

Covering a range of very different European countries including Turkey, the UK, Italy and Bulgaria, the book uses comparative case studies to illustrate how practice varies significantly even within Europe. It reveals how familiarization with religious and philosophical diversity in Europe should lead to the modification of legal frameworks historically designed to accommodate majority religions. This in turn should give rise to recognition of new groups and communities and eventually, a more adequate response to the plurality of religions and beliefs in European society.

Contents: Religion and rethinking the public-private divide:
introduction, Marie-Claire Foblets; Part I Religions and the Public/Private Divide: Public and private, a moving border: a legal-historical perspective, Kjell Å. Modeer; Socio-historical perspectives on the public and private spheres, Adam Seligmann; The ‘public-private’ divide on drift: what, if any, is its importance for analysing limits of associational religious freedoms?, Veit Bader; Religious freedom and the public-private divide: a broken promise in Europe?, Alessandro Ferrari; The ‘public’ and the ‘private’ in the common law and civil law traditions and the regulation of religion, Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens and Noura Karazivan; Contested normative cultures. Gendered perspectives on religions and the public/private divide, Hanne Petersen; Religion in the European public
spaces: a legal overview, Silvio Ferrari. Part II Religion and the Dress
Codes: From front-office to back-office: religious dress crossing the public-private divide in the workplace, Katayoun Alidadi; Religious dress codes: the Turkish case, A. Emre Öktem and Mehmet C. Uzun; Religious dress codes in the United Kingdom, Javier Garcia Oliva; Religious dress codes: the Italian case, Sabrina Pastorelli; Religious dress codes: the Bulgarian case, Maya Kosseva and Iva Kyurkchieva; Comparing burqa debates in Europe: sartorial styles, religious prescriptions and political ideologies, Sara Silvestri. Part III Religion and the Places of Worship: The right to establish and maintain places of worship: the developments of its normative content under international human rights law, Noel G. Villaroman; The places of worship in France and the public/private divide, Anne Fornerod; ‘Stopp Minarett’? The controversy over the building of minarets in Switzerland:
religious freedom versus collective identity, Vincenzo Pacillo; Places of worship: between public and private: a comparison between Bulgaria, Italy and the Netherlands, Tymen J. van der Ploeg; Index.

About the Editor: Silvio Ferrari is Professor of Canon Law, University of Milan and President, International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, Italy. His research interests are in the areas of Church and State in Europe; Comparative law of religions, and Vatican-Israel relations. He has published widely on these and related areas.

Sabrina Pastorelli is research fellow at the Institute of International Law – section of Ecclesiastical and Canon Law – University of Milan, Faculty of Law. She is also a member of the Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL-CNRS/École Pratique des Hautes Études-Sorbonne) and teaching assistant at the Catholic University of Paris – Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences. Her research interests include sociology of religion; new religious movements; law and religion in Europe; religious education; regulation of religious pluralism; state public policy and religion. She is a member of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR); the Association for Sociology of Religion (ASR); the Italian Sociological Association (AIS).

Reviews: ‘This book offers more than its title promises. It is not only about Europe or about religion. Insightful, suggestive and as diverse as its contributors, it contains a persuasive reflection on the need to rethink the very notion of public space that Western democracies have used since the nineteenth century.’
Javier Martinez-Torron, Complutense University School of Law, Spain

‘This is a highly important book in a remarkable controversy. Silvio Ferrari and Sabrina Pastorelli present a rich volume full of information, thought, and insight – presenting masterpieces of interdisciplinary research and political guidance. The book is a most valuable contribution to freedom and equality throughout Europe.’
Gerhard Robbers, University of Trier, Germany