Monday, July 22, 2024

Under Giorgia Meloni Italy Proposes Law to Ban Islamic Prayers in Public Spaces

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Right-wing governments are being accused of Islamophobia across the world. The latest to join the alleged group of Anti-Muslim league is Giorgia Meloni’s Nationalist Government in Italy. The Italian government has drafted a law to stop the religious transformation of spaces like Industrial garages, warehouses, etc. The Fratelli d’Italia party of Italy (FdI party), the governing political party of Italy, seeks to ban prayers outside the Masjids or Mosques. This proposed law bans Islamic prayers in public spaces is allegedly based in Islamophobic sentiments. 

Outlines of Italy’s Proposed Prayer Ban Bill

Italian Muslims Protest Against Mosque Ban Near the Colosseum - Muslim Girl
PC Muslim Girl

The local Italian media reports that the nationalist government’s bill seeks to check the unsanctioned use of spaces for religious activities. It also restricts unregistered cultural and religious organizations in the nation to hold religious functions or activities. The bill states that religious groups would be required to register themselves and will need prior permission to use spaces, like Industrial garages or warehouses, for religious purposes. The opposition parties in Italy allege that the underlying tone of the bill is to keep an account of the number of mosques and Muslims in the nation.

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If the proposed bill gets passed in the Italian parliament, it will have the following effect:

  1. It will close unapproved religious spaces.
  2. It will restrict the aggressive Islamization of Italy.
  3. It will allow the government to keep a note of all Places of Worship within the nation.
  4. Unregistered religious organizations will be unable to hold cultural or religious activities.
  5. Muslims will only be able to offer prayers in registered Mosques.

Islamization of Italy

Italy moves to block 'anti-mosque' laws | Religion News | Al Jazeera
PC Al Jazeera

Officially Italy does not recognize Islam as a state religion. All religions, except Catholic Christianity, are required by law to register with the Italian government. Catholic Christianity has special privileges in the country. However, Italy allows religious organizations that are registered with the government to hold religious activities. Religious organizations for Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, other Churches, etc. have such permissions from the Italian government; however, Islamic organizations have not applied or sought any permission from the Italian government till date. Thus, all Islamic prayers, functions, and activities are conducted by unregistered groups at various premises without the permission of the nation’s governing body.

Sources state that about 4.8% of the population of Italy follows Islam, i.e. approximately over 2 million. However, nearly 1.67 million of them are foreign migrant Muslims.

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Only 493,000 are Muslims that are citizens of the country. Countries like Morocco, Algeria, Ukraine, Tunisia, Egypt, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are the prominent sources of migrant Muslims that arrive on the shores of Italy at irregular intervals. 

Why did Giorgia Meloni’s Government Propose a Law To Ban Prayers Outside Mosques?

Study reveals that a majority of the Muslims in Italy are youths and children. The high fertility rates of Muslims and the en masse arrival of Muslim migrants in the nation may result in a sharp increase in the total Muslim population of the country. Nearly 50% of all foreign immigrants in Italy were granted citizenship in 2022. This has led to a rise in the number of Muslim citizens in Italy.

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The possibility of a further increase in population of an unregistered religion has irked the local population of Italy. They view this as a threat to the majority Christian population of the nation. This popular mindset had led to the victory of Giorgia Meloni’s Nationalist Party in the last Italian elections. The party promised to impose restrictions on mass migrations into Italy from non-European countries. The Italian PM Giorgia Meloni has made significant inroads in his efforts to reduce immigration in the country. The proposed ban on prayers outside of mosques is another attempt by the Italian PM to regulate and record the rising Muslim presence in Italy.

Is the Proposed Italian Law Islamophobic?

Muslims in Italy protest over unfair restrictions | Arab News
PC Arab News

The opposition parties and religious leaders are furiously opposing the proposed law. They repeatedly relate this proposed ban on prayers outside of Mosques to Islamophobia. However, the ban does prohibit Muslim prayer rituals in totality. The bill only requires Muslims to perform their daily prayers in registered Places of Worship. This bill impartially favors Muslims by allowing them to perform religious activities despite being an unregistered religion by the Italian state.

Liberals and secularists across the globe view all laws or restrictions against Islam as an act of Islamophobia. However, they forget that Islam itself does not tolerate other religions. Muslim-majority nations forbid religious practices of other religions. Moreover, they rigorously restrict or monitor other religions in Islamic states. However, the Muslims do not like to be governed or monitored in nations where they are in minority. They the expect all governments to pander to the Muslim-minorities; while Muslim-majority nations shamelessly conduct ethnic genocide of minorities. The prime examples of Islamic intolerance are the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. These Muslim-majority nations have brought their Hindu minorities to the brink of extinction through forced conversions or ethnic cleansing.

Thus, the steps taken by the Italian government and this proposed bill may help Italy regulate Islam, its followers, and its influence. Moreover, it may also regulate the migrant Muslims in the nation. However, the ‘peacefuls’ in Italy and the world may not view this proposed bill in the same light. They may not understand that this proposed bill protects the interests of its citizens and does not pander to the minority. 

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