By Souad Sbai
Immediately after Pope’s visit to Abu Dhabi, there are those who attempt to take advantage: the Italian Muslim Association (ANMI) presented in Nardo a proposal for a State-Islam agreement that presents critical points about polygamy and clandestine mosques. It is incompatible with our law.
Pope Francis’ historic visit to Abu Dhabi has certainly left its mark but we must be careful with imitations. In Lecce – Nardò to be precise – the interreligiousness fever is particularly high. So high that, in a Carmelite cloister, took place an unusual event: the presentation of an idea of agreement between the Italian State and Islam. An initiative of the converted Italian Muslims, gathered in the self-proclaimed Italian Muslim Association (ANMI) that has the blessing of the mayor.
The presentation of this supposed agreement requires some consideration of merit and method.
The first concerns the question of polygamy. Muslims in Italy, by birth or converted as members of the aforementioned association, must understand that they have not been granted the right to “renounce polygamy” as if it is a beautiful gesture with which it is possible to seek an agreement with the Italian State in its secularism. In fact, polygamy is already prohibited by Article 3 of the Italian Constitution that establishes equality between women and men; equality that is the antithesis of polygamy that is based on the submission of the feminine component. Therefore, polygamy in Italy is completely illegal.
There is also the issue of abusive mosques that those who propose the alleged agreement are willing to close.
On the one hand, this is the admission of the existence in Italian territory, from north to south, of unauthorized and illegal places of worship that are very often used as centers for indoctrination and recruitment by improvised imams and activists linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
On the other hand, it should be noted that it is the State that must proceed with the closure of these centers; nobody else. If the Italian State continues without taking initiatives in this regard, it will be a serious problem that is dragged along with the current “government of change”.
In the proposal made by the Association of Italian converts, of course, they do not talk about the issue of the veil; there is no reference to the approval of a law that forbids the use of the veil that covers the face in public. The “Italian” Islam, therefore, renounces polygamy but the woman must remain veiled and submissive. At this point, it would be interesting to hear City Council opinion and what the Carmelites think about it.
In any case, the ambition to become the guide of Islam in Italy manifested by the association, “with the support of Muslims of foreign origin” runs the risk of remaining perpetually frustrated. The leadership is won with the vote but it does not seem that the association has been chosen to represent the different Islamic associations in Italy and it has not been chosen to represent the associations whose members are mostly of Italian origin.
To gain visibility, the ANMI has condemned itself to isolation within the community it claims to represent. Why do they not share their proposal with the other associations? Why do they not organize a referendum where the proposal could be judged by the other associations and, therefore, rejected or adopted by the entire Islamic community?
In addition, ANMI seems to want to promote the idea of making a clear differentiation between Italian converts Muslims and not. This carries the risk of exacerbating the fragmentation existing within the Islamic community, by offering groups and the expression of the Muslim Brotherhood a pretext to further strengthen their positions in a sense of identity and exclusivity.
To put an end to the radicalization and to the Islamist agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood and of the States that sponsor them, – Emirs Al Thani’s Qatar and Erdogan’s Turkey – the differentiation must be based on the ideas, the programs and the type of vision of Islam and not on the basis of nationality or ethnicity.
In this regard, the proposal made by ANMI does not seem to differ from that of the Muslim Brotherhood which is already being transmitted by groups that include Italians converted to the most fundamentalist version of Islam. The obviousness of the closure of mosques and the badly stated “renounce” to polygamy are not enough: concrete gestures are needed to demonstrate the opposition of ANMI to the Muslim Brotherhood and, in addition, it would be convenient to clarify their funding sources.
In fact, the danger of dissimulation, of the “taqiyya” so beloved by the Muslim Brotherhood, which takes advantage of the ingenuity and ignorance of its interlocutors to promote the Islamist agenda with funds coming from Qatar or Turkey, is always lurking.
A well-established scheme that always finds the way to reincarnate itself in new forms, adapting itself to the circumstances of the moment and using them skillfully. The use and abuse of Pope Francis’ visit to Abu Dhabi will continue and it is necessary that institutions, especially religious institutions, the world of politics and civil society, do not give up; they must oppose instrumentalization.