January 7, 2009

Islamizing Europe

Let’s update my previous post by linking to the Times and the Daily Mail, which reported about what happened last Saturday in Milan and Bologna, as well as about the Vatican’s reactions.

In particular we learn that the Vatican yesterday expressed its “unease” at the hundreds of Muslims who gathered in prayer outside the the Duomo in Milan and the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, with thousands of prostrate Muslims facing Mecca. In an interview with the Vatican’s official newspaper Osservatore Romano, Cardinal RenatoMartino, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: “For me the sight of people at prayer does not trouble me, it is good that people pray. But what really troubled me and left me uneasy was the fact that Israeli flags were burnt and there were slogans, all manifestations of hate and which followed a prayer session.” “What matters is the spirit in which one prays—and prayer excludes hate,” he added.

Monsignor Luigi Manganini, archpriest of Milan cathedral, said in turn he could imagine the Islamic reaction if Christians prayed en masse outside a mosque (well, er, actually I think there are very few people who would have difficulty in imaging what would have happened …).

We also learn that the rally in Milan was led by the city’s Muslim Imam Abu Imad, who, as MP Maurizio Gasparri noted, has been convicted in Italy of terrorism related offences, and that, according to the Imam, the demonstration had ended up on the cathedral square “by chance” at the hour of prayer, “and so we prayed, there was no provocation or insult intended,” he said. Fantastic.

Yet, Gasparri thinks that “when 10,000 Muslims arrive in front of Milan Cathedral, led by an Imam who has convictions for terrorism then public order needs to be looked at,” and that “it is evident that this was intended as a threat and the decision to pray and hold the rally in front of the Cathedral is very significant.”

Who do you agree with? Abu Imad or Gasparri?

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  1. From a document you may know:

    Article 2 [Human Rights]
    The republic recognizes and guarantees the inviolable human rights, be it as an individual or in social groups expressing their personality, and it ensures the performance of the unalterable duty to political, economic, and social solidarity.

    Article 3 [Equality]

    (1) All citizens have equal social status and are equal before the law, without regard to their sex, race, language, religion, political opinions, and personal or social conditions.

    Article 8 [Religion]

    (1) Religious denominations are equally free before the law.

    Article 17 [Right of Assembly]

    (1) All citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and unarmed.
    (2) For meetings, including those held in places to which the general public has access, no previous notice is required.

    The RC Church no longer wishes to abide by Italian law.

    Do Italy's politicians actually know the Italian constitution??




  2. It's really a question of Charity, which is considering the feelings of others. It's clear that the people have a right to pray, but why do it with the intention of "getting the goat" of another religion?

    No one, including the Church, rightly objects to prayer. But this, from the description, has the sound of political rally meant to upset people.

    It' worth noting that when the Pope went to Turkey, he visited a Mosque and was careful not to offend Muslim sensibilities concerning non-Muslim piety in a Mosque.

  3. Alex, true but it sounds like these folks had no tact - or dare I say respect. What would have transpired if they were politely asked to move on? I agree with Conway on this point.

    At some point civility and social graces must prevail and one thing not associated with terrorists is civility.

    Here in Canada the same thing happened. They marched. This in itself is fine.

    It's when they began to shout murderous slogans and burning flags where it rightfully upset people.

    Here in Quebec, what's worse, we have politicians who march side by side pro-Palestinian protestors in defiance of Israel. Pathetic. More proof that leadership is dead.

  4. As a matter of facts, in order to reach Piazza Duomo where Muslims had the intention to "pray" - eg. to deliver a power message to masses and politicians and not to their God - they had to breach the rules set by Police Dept. about the path of their demonstration, thus infringing the law. IT'S A CRIME, PERIOD.

    That's why I think it must be a JOKE mentioning the human rights and the equality of religion toward the law in a squallid story of MUSCULARITY and DISRESPECT like that.

    The analogy of the Pope's pray into a Mosque in Turkey is pretty compelling: in Western Countries we are educated to ask before entering in someone else's house and perform something; in the Pope's visit case, someone asked for and someone else gave permission to.
    Those Muslims in Duomo square don't seems to share same principle.

    The real point to me is: beside the law infringiment (which I am pretty sure it will be forgiven by our progressive Judges) I am amazed about the senile weakness ("buonismo"?) demostrated by the Catholic Hierarchy in this situation.
    All the can say about such an invasive lack of RESPECT to millions of people and not just to them, is their "unease"?!!
    Whilst in Saudi it is against the law not only to gather and perform a Mass but just to wear a crucifix.

    Apart from reciprocality issues in Islamic Countries concerning individual rights, let's just focus at home: I do not feel comfortable to be requested to respect somebody that don't seem intended to respect us at all.
    ciao, Abr

  5. interesting blog sir ... keep it up.

  6. Praying and kneeling like that in front of the Duomo is not a crime according to our Constitution, as Alex reminds us (let us forget the wrong path, not that important and a small misdeed in my view).

    What’s more important to me is that the whole thing is clearly a sign of disrespect and a challenge to our world. Something highly unpleasant. No doubt.

    The West has its responsibilities towards the Muslims. They have been colonised and exploited for their oil. I am not against Israel and I understand the Jews and their idealism, but the West has encouraged them (mostly out of greed, in my view) in returning to their land after 2000 years, which, sorry to say that, is absurd, it is like the Italians decided to go back to North Africa because it was a Roman province 2000 years ago. Now the damage is done. Infinite hate has come out of that.

    But the Muslims in my view also have *tremendous* responsibilities. The Indians and the Chinese were exploited too, but instead of crying over it all the time they rolled up their sleeves and started to progress *fast*. Look at the difference between India and Pakistan! And the Muslims? They do nothing but play the victim all the time, finding back their pride in backwards ways (Sharia etc.) and forgetting how *advanced* and *open-minded* they were during the Middle ages.

    Are we at a clash of civilization and a war of religions? What I am most fearing, is that this growth of fundamentalism is contagious. Now we also have Hindu fundamentalists, Muslim and Christian creationists who become allied and so on. We should not fall into this trap.

    In the Renaissance, when Catholic Rome was getting back to some freedom of mores, the protestants arrived (Luther etc.), split Christianity, and advanced Rome had to counter-react: ALL became very strict and fanatical again: we had Inquisition, witch hunts, wars of religion, horrible killings for centuries in Europe.

    Of course I don’t have solutions. They are not democratic. We are. We must not be weak (I agree), but we must be intelligent. Let us not have them transform us. Let us help the Muslim moderates. They are still the vast majority and, according to statistics, they are hating more and more the extremists.

    Pure reaction, especially when lacking a whole picture, is too simplistic and blind.

  7. For the said statistics, have a look here:


    They show that while more and more Muslims are turning away from the extremists, more and more people are turning away from Muslims.

  8. @The Commentator - yes, you are right - burning flags and yelling murderous slogans is not a great way of distancing yourself from extremists.

    The Muslim religion does not do itself any favours with such actions. I think I'd be right in saying that not all Muslims are flag burners though.

    @Abr - "All the can say about such an invasive lack of RESPECT to millions of people and not just to them, is their "unease"?!!
    Whilst in Saudi it is against the law not only to gather and perform a Mass but just to wear a crucifix." I hope Muslims appreciate the level of freedom they enjoy in countries like Italy, Canada and the UK. I think many do, otherwise they would not leave their countries of origin.

    @MoR - "What’s more important to me is that the whole thing is clearly a sign of disrespect and a challenge to our world. Something highly unpleasant. No doubt." The Muslim religion is clearly having problems coming to terms with the 'freedom' of the modern world. It's one of the last great dominant religions, and like many religions its rules were written in different times, something which is causing problems for other religions too.

    I'm not against Israel clamping down on terrorism, which I detest, but I do feel sorry for the Palestinians. They do not stand much of a chance against Jewish resolution, and we have Hitler's daft acts to blame in part for Israel's present day stance and actions.

    I wish to heck Muslims could come to terms with the modern world, and that Israel and the Palestinians could find some way to live together in peace. However I fear that much blood will be spilt before a real solution is found.

    As for "Do Italy's politicians actually know the Italian constitution??" - I take this statement back, partially - a clever politician would have used the Italian constitution to gently point out to Italy's Muslim population that a)They have much more freedom in Italy than in many Muslim countries (plus a functioning health system, etc) b) Can feel free to demonstrate - but go over the top and you will do yourselves more harm than good. Especially with the Italy's xenophobic Northern League just waiting for excuses to put the boot in.

    Let's hope that the more moderate elements which exist within the Muslim religion prevail. Trouble is the moderates are so moderate that their voices are overwhelmed by those of the flag burning extremists.

    I hope the Muslim religion does not flail itself to death. I know some Muslims, and they are good people. I've also known a few Jewish people too, although not really that well. They are just people like the rest of us.

    Heck I wish we could all live together on this tiny planet without trying to kill each other all the time.

    All the best to one and all,


  9. Alex, absolutely. They're not all flag burners. In fact, the vast majority are probably moderate as MOR mentions.

    What's interesting is to hear what Christian Arabs have to say about Muslims. That's always fascinating.

    But not the subject here.

  10. I just come across your journal via 2008 blog awards nominations. Very interesting page you have got.
    Yes, fanaticism is not good from politics to football, religion to human rights.
    If or when weapons talk instead of us, then the people can not stop their hearts, going to make 'noise' such as you stated. Empathy is 'the best thing' to understand others, I believe.
    Today we are giving 'a voice to peace'. Hope it will make a good voice.

  11. Every time in history when a religious minority has been accused to plot to overthrow the social order and force their valued onto the majority, it has turned out to be untrue (eg. the Jews in 1920s Germany, the Catholics in 1700s England).

    Therefore, it would take more that the words and dreams of some fanatic to convince me that Islamization is on the way in Italy (or in any of the European country that had larger and older immigration of islamic people).

    To me it seems that the European society is not heading towards Islamic theocracy, but on the contrary, in the opposite direction, towards a more secular position.

  12. @StefanoC

    I agree with you. I'd better say: it is an agreement - and a hope :-)