February 19, 2014
Souad Sbai, a former MP and president of the Community Association of Moroccan Women in Italy (ACMID Woman) expressed her outrage at the choice of Cat Steven to open the famed Sanremo music festival. In a note Sbai said “I’m sorry I have to note once again the inability of state television to act as a public service. I find it shameful that the Parliamentary Oversight Committee at Rai television did not intervene to avoid hosting a controversial celebrity for the opening of the Sanremo music festival” Sbai is against the British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, because in the “in the 1970s converted to Islam and now goes by the name Yusuf Islam” and “ he continues to be on the blacklist for traveling to the United States.” Sbai then points out that “in 2006, here in Italy, the pop star was the subject of a parliamentary panel led by the Minister of the Interior, Giuliano Amato, for an interview in which he spoke about Islamic propaganda.”
December 19, 2013
“For years we have denounced unauthorized mosques like those reported and discovered by residents of the Esquiline Bixio street. Unfortunately, there are not enough controls on unauthorized Islamic centers of worship in Italy.”
In a statement, the president of the ACMID (Association of Moroccan Women in Italy), Souad Sbai continued “I do not think that a Muslim should feel discriminated against by the lack of suitable places to worship. In Rome, there is the largest mosque in Europe, able to host more than 25 thousand people, and today, less than 400 faithful go there for Friday Prayer.”
According to the Association president, “surely it is important to protect those who profess their faith in a peaceful manner. However, clandestine mosques can hide centers of Islamist recruitment, especially at present, in which we are witnessing an advance of jihadist groups. Italy must remain vigilant and work to close unauthorized mosques.”
The Pdl deputy and president of Acmid-Donna Onlus (Association of Moroccan women in Italy) Suad Sbai interprets the result of the Swiss referendum as a consequence of the hatred spread by Islamic fundamentalists throughout Europe.
Minarets, in her opinion, more than religious symbols represent the visible, arrogant sign of Political Islam from which, she declares, moderate Islam both in Italy and in the Arab world, distances.
In Italy, she hopes for stronger controls over mosques and self-declared imams as crucial means to contrast Political Islam whose aim is to “Islamize” Europe. Political interventions should create bridges with moderate Islam whilst fighting political Islam.
Moroccan-Italian MP Souad Sbai has spent years defending battered women in the Moroccan immigrant community, and faces an increasing number of threats as she progresses through parliament. So far, three men originally from North Africa, face trial accused of making death threats against Sbai; yet, she continues to receive threatening phone calls and e-mails. “They threaten me, they scream. They make fatwas. I’ve never talked about Islam. I’ve spoken about Muslims who treat women badly. And this is a crime?” said Sbai, who was elected to parliament last year as part of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative coalition.
Sbai has lived in Italy for 30 years and is the head of the Association of Moroccan Women in Italy.
Italian MP Souad Sbai condemned a newly approved government measure that will allow schools to hold separate classes for immigrant children who fail admissions tests in Italian state schools. “I say no to such classes because I consider them discriminatory towards immigrant children,” said Sbai. According to the Northern League, the separate classes will be for those children who fail language and ‘general evaluation’ tests for admission to mainstream schooling, will help such children integrate and will counter racism in the country. “We do not agree with the creation of separate classrooms for immigrant pupils because it means splitting up the children and creating ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams,” responded Sbai. She added that she would prefer to see extra lessons provided in after school hours or over the summer, instead of separating immigrant schoolchildren from their peers.
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Morocco has recalled its Ambassador to Italy, Tajeddine Baddou, to protest against the imprisonment of Moroccan senator Yahya Yahya in Rome. While details of Yahya’s arrest are unknown, reports claim that the senator was under the influence of alcohol, insulting police, and arguing with his wife. As a result, he was sentenced to 27 for breaching the peace and aggression against a public official. However, some have questioned these reports – including Italian MP Souad Sbai. Sbai stated that she believes the reports to be strange citing the unlikelihood that Yahya was drink, given religious prohibition of alcoholic beverages and the soon-to-begin month of Ramadan. Yahya holds Moroccan, Spanish, and Dutch citizenship – although in parliament, he represents Melilla – a city under Spanish control and claimed by Morocco. He was reportedly visiting Italy to do shopping.
Thousands of polygamous marriages have sprung up throughout Italy, as a by-product of fast and voluminous immigration of Muslims to the country. Souad Sbai, a Moroccan-born Italian lawmaker believes that Italy has turned a blind eye to the phenomenon. It is absurd that in a civilized country like Italy, so little is acknowledged about this, says Sbai. Sbai estimates that 14,000 polygamous families live in Italy, while other estimates put the number higher. Sbai is convinced that Muslim polygamists in Italy practice a more fundamentalist and abusive form of marriage, often imprisoning women and confining them to a life of solitude, wholly dependant on their husband. Many of these polygamous families take advantage of the orfi marriage – a less formal union that is performed by an imam, which does not carry the same social and legal standing as a lawful marriage.
Two immigrants have been elected to the new Italian parliament – Souad Sbai and Jean Leonard Touadi. Selegalese born Touadi has been elected as an MP for the centre-left Italy of Values Party, and Sbai, the president of Italy’s Association of Moroccan women has been elected an MP for Berlusconi’s conservative People of Freedom Party. The head of Italy’s immigrant party pledged full support for the two, saying they will have the honour of representing 4 million new citizens living in our country. Two other immigrant parliamentary candidates – Frias Merceder Lourdes and Khalil Ali, failed to win seats in the elections on Sunday and Monday.
Though polygamous marriages are illegal in Italy, they are reportedly on the rise. While few Italian Muslims admit such unions, Muslim scholars put the number between 15,000-20,000 nationwide. Opinions in Italy are divided over the practice – “It’s a statistically irrelevant phenomenon that affects very few families, within which the presence of more than one wife doesn’t create problems,” said sociologist Stefano Allievi. However, Italy’s Moroccan Women’s Association president and parliamentary candidate for the centre-right People of Freedom Alliance, Souad Sbai, has a different view: There are thousands of cases of polygamy and in most instances, women suffer abuse. Husbands beat wives who don’t want to accept another wife… After a few years, polygamists sometimes abandon their second wives, who then find they are not entitled to benefits and have no rights – they cannot file for divorce, because in the eyes of the state, they were never married.”
The Italian supreme court recently rejected an appeal by the prosecution in the case of a Moroccan girl who had been beaten by her family, her parents and her brother. The appeal was rejected on the grounds that it was for her own good and for her non-conformity with their culture, she had gone out with a friend and her life style was not accepted by her parents. This story starts in 2003 when the parents of Fatima R. (19), a Muslim girl from Bologna, were sentenced for tying Fatima up and beating her. The court of appeals reversed the decision and this past week the supreme court confirmed it. According to the Italian judges that girl had not been beaten out of anger and it was unusual for the father, who had only beat his daughter three times in his life. According to the prosecution Fatima had been tied to a chair and released only to be brutally beaten. However the supreme court ruled that Fatima had threatened suicide out of her fear and that she had been tied up in order to prevent her from doing so. Souad Sbai of the Italian Association of Moroccan Women said that this decision was worthy of an Arab country which observed sharia law. and accused the judges of applying a double standard in the name of multiculturalism. According to Sbai a Catholic father in a similar case would have been harshly punished. Sbai says that there is excessive tolerance towards certain behaviors both from the right and left wing, who prefer political correctness over applying the Italian law.