Young Italian Muslims have expressed their support for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and journalist Magdi Allam, after death threats were posted in an Islamist website said to be close to al-Qaeda.
The Young Muslims of Italy (GMI) told Adnkronos International (AKI) that no Muslims should sympathise with these death threats.
"The association, Young Italian Muslims, expresses disdain and rejects the unacceptable violent threats that appeared in an internet forum, run by Muslims," said the organisation in a statement on Wednesday.
The death threats were directed at Berlusconi and Allam, an Egyptian-born journalist who converted from Islam to Roman Catholicism during the Vatican's Easter vigil in April 2008.
While Berlusconi has received death threats from Islamists in the past, the new internet threats were published for the first time in Italian with the title, 'Berlusconi and Magdi Allam'.
"We express solidarity with those who received the threats," said the organisation's statement.
"We think that the best way to respond, as members of civil society and of a religious community, is to strengthen our country, and the rest of the world, (to promote) reconciliation and conviviality, isolating extremism and instead emphasising initiatives and exponents of dialogue."
Abdullah Kabakebji, a spokesman for GMI, told AKI that the organisation wanted to express its support publicly because it was important for Italians to know that these people had nothing to do with the Italian community.
"We think that no Muslim, not even remotely could sympathise with threats," he said.
"If we received information of this kind from internet users, we would be the first to denounce them."
Source: AKI (English)