It’s a negotiation both complex and delicate, and still in progress. Those in search of compromise include the Islamic Association on one side and the city of Mangalore on the other.
The building is constructed but it is not in use. Talks now center on the possible rebuilding of the structure. In 2007, a proposal arrived on the desk of the mayor, Guerino Surini a center-left affiliate, asking for a change of order for a building in an agricultural area.
The building is a house with two floors, and was acquired by the the Islamic association An-Hur which intends to transform the building into an Islamic cultural center and a place of prayer. The mayor, Surini, rejected the request. The association did not give up and sought an appeal through TAR, the Regional Administrative Court. In September 2010, the TAR judgment ruled against the municipal administration.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE TAR
“There are no insurmountable reasons that prevent the development of a residential building into one of social function, even a religious one” reads the judgment of the Regional Administrative Court “no damage would be dealt to the natural environment, since the building would remain in the current state and it would not be necessary for changes to be made to the road. Article 70, paragraph 2, of Regional Law 12-2005 does not authorize municipalities to decide on the legitimacy of religious denominations. Therefore, local governments must not only comply with any form of official recognition of a particular religion, but also comply with the general principles of the state in matters of religion.”
THE DIFFICULTIES OF NEGOTIATION
In short, TAR granted a green light for the use Islamic center however, the judges urge the association and the city administration to reach an agreement. It’s been three years since that ruling, but the deal between Muslims and the City has not yet been reached. A new mayor Dario Colossi, right-center, stated he would not talk in open negotiations.
Mangalore is a municipality that has approximately 4 thousand inhabitants, with immigrants just over 400, 10% of the population, which is further subdivided into 15 different ethnic groups. The building, owned by the An–Hur, after TAR’s decision he intended to have the building become a center of Muslim prayer and the de facto place of worship for all the Muslims in the area. The city fears that it will not be able to cope with the influx of thousands during times of celebrations like Ramadan.