Monday, September 25, 2006

Muslims Offered Italian Values
Analysis by Federico Bordonaro

ROME, Sep 25 (IPS) - Interior Minister Giuliano Amato proposed in August that Muslim organisations in Italy will need to subscribe to a Charter of Values to signal their readiness to be fully integrated into Italian society and its political culture.

Rome is facing a huge challenge: it cannot fail to integrate its increasingly numerous Muslim immigrant population, but since integration policies in Europe are regarded as less than successful, it is forced to seek new solutions.

Less than successful? I would call that an understatement.

Pope Benedict's controversial speech in Regensburg in Germany (Sep. 12) added to Italy's concerns about its integration policy towards Muslim minorities.. Muslim leaders in Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait, but even in France and Germany sharply criticised the pontiff's choice to quote a harsh critique of Islam and Jihad issued by Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel II Paleologos back in 1391.

Efforts have been made to placate Muslim concerns in the aftermath of the diplomatic incident. On Sep. 22, sources from the Islamic Council in Italy confirmed that the Pope is going to meet diplomats from Muslim countries, members of Italian Muslim organisations and Muslim religious leaders in Castelgandolfo near Rome on Sep. 25. The goal of the meeting, sources say, is to give the Catholic-Muslim dialogue a fresh start.

After the Madrid and London terror attacks in 2004 and 2005, the Danish cartoon controversy, and last summer's so-called honour killing in northern Italy where a Pakistani immigrant killed his daughter, worries about Muslim integration in Italy have increased.

In particular, public debate among Italian intellectuals and specialists highlights the worry that in Muslim countries only a minority of intellectuals have criticised the call for retaliation issued by religious and extremist political leaders, while conciliatory words pronounced by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the Pope explained that his speech was "not intended to hurt Muslim feelings" have been cautiously received.

One thing is sure, though, and it is the heart of the matter: Rome cannot afford to fail to integrate Italian Muslims and to enhance their attachment to national democratic and constitutional values if it is to avoid a bitter political and social conflict..


At 10:40 AM, Blogger FreeCyprus said...

It's very interesting was happening in Europe these days.

There's a great article by Lorenzo Vidino, Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2005

The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe


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