NEW YORK: May 26th 2008: Rupee News: The rising tide of Anti-Semitism and Islamphobia took another victim. Silovio Berlusconi’s right wing government is in bed with the Fascist Northern League (NL). The NL used the opportunity to celebrate “Pig Day” and walking pigs on the site of the Mosque. The NL then bulldozed the mosque structure and want to name a park after one of the worst Islamphobes of Europe Oriana Fallaci who died a few years ago.
“Today in Italy, the traditional fascist hatred of the Jew is increasingly substituted by a hatred of Muslims, all of them, children, women and men. Today Muslims in Italy are not so differently represented as their Semitic brothers were during the time of the Fascio and the Eia Eia alala.”
Italy is North of Africa and had considerable Islamic influences. Sicily, its Southern most Island was called daughter of Spain and was ruled by Muslim for hundreds of years. The Saracens, as the Muslims are called in Italy also ravaged Rome when the Roman Empire was soft. Rome lost most its empire to the Muslims in the 7th and 8th century. (http://rupeenews.com/2008/02/12/islamic-sicily-muslims-ruled-sicily-for-hundreds-of-years-transferring-the-rennaissance-and-enlightment-from-muslim-spain-to-christian-europe/)
To be a Muslim and live in Italy, particularly in the North of the country, politically dominated by the far-right parties Lega Nord (North League, a secessionist party) and Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance, the bigger post-fascist party), is not just difficult, it is a nightmare. Recently discrimination against the Italian Muslims as well as the immigrants has risen to an unacceptable level for a European country subscribing to, and strongly supporting, the European Convention for Human Rights. I have to admit that if any other European country, such as France, the UK or Germany, would dare to discriminate against their Muslim population as Italy is currently doing, they would face a political as well as social backlash. Islam, Muslims, and an Anthropologist Dr Marranci
Rome is also host to the vitriolic Pope-Cardinal Gratzinger who has been fanning hatred from his seat in the Vatican
Italy’s former deputy education minister has provoked a scandal by parading a pig, an impure animal for Muslims, on the site of a planned mosque in the country’s north, news reports said Sunday.
“We have ‘blessed’ the ground that the Padua authorities want to transfer for the mosque,” said Mariella Mazzetto, a member of the populist right-wing Northern League party in the city. She walked the pig on a lead accompanied by about 10 party members, Italian daily newspapers reported.
“It’s a question of defending Italian identity,” said Mazzetto, who was deputy education minister in 1994-95 under the former right-wing government of Silvio Berlusconi.
Of course, in the country of the Mortadella, Parma Ham and spice sausages, the protests against Muslims have often seen pigs (both living and dead) paraded, in the hope that the ‘contamination’, like garlic for vampires, would keep the Mohammedans, or Islamists (as Italians insist on calling Muslims) away. Therefore, if in Colle Val d’Elsa, locals pelted Muslims with sausages and dumped a severed pig’s head at the site, in Bologna, a former minister of the Italian republic, Mariella Mazzetto, has organised a pig parade, which succeeded in convincing Bologna Mayor Sergio Cofferati, a former communist leader of the most powerful trade unions, to stop the construction of the mosque. Islam, Muslims, and an Anthropologist Dr Marranci
A small minority of Italians is he;ping Muslims, but its just a few.
Bepi Zambon, former tennis champion and owner of the exclusive Tennis Club Zambon has allocated two courts for local Muslims to worship on – one for men and the other for women. But on Wednesday, the Muslim festival of sacrifice Eid al-Adha, shortly after 300 Muslims had arrived at the tennis club for prayers, local traffic wardens and firemen showed up, as well as an anti-terror police officer. They began rigorously inspecting parked cars and fire exits at the club and asking for documents, on strict instructions to write up any infractions and issue fines mercilessly.
The traffic wardens had been sent to the tennis club by anti-immigrant Northern League politician and deputy mayor of Treviso, Giancarlo Gentilini. Three years ago he invoked a 1975 public order law and ordered police to arrest women wearing the Islamic burqa in Treviso. […]The tennis courts are currently the only prayer area for Muslims in Treviso. They last month lost a prayer space allocated them inside a local church in the Ponzano district of Treviso after this sparked controversy, and were evicted from their mosque in Villorba in the province of Treviso Islam, Muslims, and an Anthropologist Dr Marranci
Rising tide of Islamphobia in Italy:
one of the most common accusations against Moroccans and Muslims in general in Italy is that they are criminals, particularly rapists. It is interesting to observe recent Istat statistics that have finally revealed that behind this myth there was a shocking reality, 90% of rapes have been committed by Italians. If you are an Italian woman, the highest risk to you would come from a member of your family, a boyfriend or just a friend, since only 6% of all rapes are committed by an aggressor unknown to the victim. Of all rapes 3% may be attributed to ‘foreigners’, with less than 0.50% to a North Africans (who may be or not Muslim). So, the Italian chimeria that Muslims systematically are raping Italian girls remains another urban Muslimphobic legend.
Stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims, which as ever existed in Italy, are today becoming what for instance Langmuir defines in his article chimerias. They are something more dangerous than mere stereotypes since chimerias are based on fables. Fables go beyond stereotypes since they represent the collective fear of ‘others’ rather than a simplification of characteristics which have a kernel of truth (i.e. Italians are Mafiosi – it is a generalisation of a particular truth: some Italians are). The majority of Italians are neither fascist nor racist, yet a great majority holds denigratory opinions about both Muslims and Islam based on chimerias. The reason behind this is education. Islam, Muslims, and an Anthropologist
Anti Islam Verona in Italy Demolishes Verona Mosque Sunday, 25 May 2008 12:30 Pakistan Daily
Italy’s far-right, anti-immigrant Northern League party has started its mission in the new government with bringing down a mosque in the northern city of Verona.
“[The mosque destruction] reinforces Muslim fears of seeing the League in the ruling coalition,” Ali Abu Shwaima, the head of Milan-based Islamic Centre, told.
Bulldozers brought down last week a building housing a Muslim prayer room in the city.
“I never felt at ease with this mosque,” Elisonder Antonneli, the head of Verona city council, said.
“This place will be turned into a park and a car parking space and will be named after (Italian writer) Oriana Fallaci.”
Fallaci, who died in 2006, was notorious for anti-Islam stances.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the far-right writer published a book entitled “Rage and Pride” in which she ridiculed the Noble Qur’an.
She has also authored another book “The Force of Reason” in which she warned that Europe was turning into “an Islamic province, an Islamic colony” and that “to believe that a good Islam and a bad Islam exist goes against all reason.”
The Northern League has four ministers in Silovio Berlusconi’s government, including the portfolio of the Interior.
The League grabbed 8 percent of the vote in last month’s general elections, securing Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition a comfortable majority in the parliament.
The party has nearly doubled its parliamentary strength from 4.5 percent two years ago.
The Northern League is widely accused of racism with many critics calling it the BNP of Italy, a reference to the British right-wing party.
Its election campaign played on issues such as immigration crime and economic and cultural fears from immigration.
Abu Shwaima, the Muslim leader, said Italian Muslims will face hard times under the far-right league.
“We believe the life of Italian Muslims will get more complicated,” he said.
He said Muslims in the city of Verona used to find spiritual comfort at the razed mosque.
“The mosque destruction is sign of spiraling Islamophobia in many European countries,” he said.
There are nearly 20,000 Muslims in Verona.
“I used to pray in the mosque for years,” an Italian Muslim in Verona told IOL, requesting anonymity.
“But this Friday I went to the mosque for prayers but I could not as it was razed.
“We live in a state of anticipation and fear after the mosque was destroyed and we want Arab and Muslim governments to pile pressures on Italy to stop anti-immigrant and anti-Islam policies.”
Abu Shwaima, the Muslim leader, has a similar message.
“We want to tell the Muslim world that mosques’ construction in Italy is almost a mission impossible.
“Except for the Milan-based Islamic Center and the Rome mosque, there are no real mosques in Italy.”
Last November, former Italian deputy Education Minister and League member Mariella Mazzetto angered Muslims after parading a pig on the site of a planned mosque in the northern city of Padua.
Two months earlier, League senator Roberto Calderoli called for a “Pig Day” protest against the mosque construction in the northern city of Bologna.
In 2006, protesters left a pig’s head at a mosque building site in the central Italian city of Tuscany.
Italy has a Muslim population of some 1.2 million, including 20,000 reverts, according to unofficial estimates.
Three aspects of the non-quantitative, qualitative life of Muslims stand out. The Muslim reluctance to shed their identity leads to a conflict of values. Even though they are not a monolithic group, European Muslims are accused of “increasingly identifying first with Islam and then with either their family’s country of origin or the European country in which they reside”.
But is not the growing pressure on Muslims in Europe to conform to the life style of the majority, euphemistically called western values, not a throwback to 20th century European racism?
Second, Muslims are described as prone to “the seductive lure of a transnational Muslim identity forged in foreign policy grievances, a culture of victimisation and a sense of alienation that is only partially fed by socio-economic factors.” This makes them, the Islamophobes maintain, a threat to the state and the society. Analysing the scene in the Netherlands, Professor Paul Sniderman argues that multiculturalism encouraged an ambiguity of commitment; the fundamental issue, it turns out is not diversity but loyalty.
Third, there is anxiety that Muslim communities in Europe may not be fully forthcoming to cooperate with intelligence and law enforcement agencies in eliminating terrorist cells. Having built up this self-serving framework of analysis, the vociferous Islamophobic lobby declares that the existing models for absorbing Muslim communities – the French version of assimilation and multiculturalism once adopted as a policy by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries – are all dead. Western democracy makes it difficult to preach it openly but some die-hard elements are beginning to talk of “separate lives”, a coded reference to apartheid.
Thirteen European states reportedly do not recognise Islam as a religion. Many of them do not even bestow minority rights embodied in their Constitutions on Muslims because they are not a recognised ethnic group. No less than 19 percent of Germans were reported in a survey to favour a ban on Muslim worship altogether. Several European states create serious hurdles in the construction of mosques.
Discriminated against frequently, the ghettoised Muslim mind resists assimilation. That this resistance is stronger among the young is as much an indictment of European societies as that of the false charisma of the radicalised imams. Ahmed’s review article would have been more persuasive if it had also focused on this destructive discrimination Daily Times (email@example.com)
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