The first Moroccan-born member of Italy's far-right Northern League party has complained that there are too many mosques in Italy.
Zakaria Najib is an Italian citizen who came to Italy when he was 20 years old. Now aged 50, he lives in the province of Padua in northern Italy.
He is now planning to run in Italy's general elections in April as a candidate for the Northern League, an anti-immigrant party that campaigns for autonomy for Italy's wealthy north.
Although a member of the Cadoneghe city council in the province of Padua between 1999 and 2003, two months ago he told a local newspaper that he had asked president Giorgio Napoletano to take away his Italian citizenship so he could be Moroccan again.
He said being a foreigner in Italy was better because they were "given homes and work, while I only have taxes and difficulties in paying the bills at the end of every month".
He criticised in particular the policies of leftist city administrations for helping immigrants and in particular Muslim immigrants.
"In a nearby city council, 30,000 euros were given to restructure a mosque," Najib told AKI.
"Now they want to give another 800,000 euros to construct another bigger mosque a few kilometres away. It is time to say enough. I am not against mosques but here we really have too many."
Najib admitted that he was no longer a practising Muslim and only considered himself culturally linked to Islam having been born in North Africa.
"I believe that everyone has the right to have their own beliefs but they must pay for it themselves," he said.
"It is not fair that taxpayers' money is being used to build mosques. On top of that I don't like the imams that I have seen inside the mosques and I think these are places that have to be controlled."
Najib has said that he is available to run as a candidate for a Senate seat for the Northern League. Party sources in Padua say that the decision depends on the federal and provincial councils of the party.
Despite that he says if elected, his first proposal would be to deal with what he called the excessive presence of mosques in the northern Italian region of Veneto.
Source: AKI (English), h/t Islamization Watch