Italy: Proposal for imams register, mosque referendum

An Italian minister has proposed a register of imams in Italy in order to control the construction of mosques and a referendum to integrate new places or worship in a social and urban context.

Andrea Ronchi, European Affairs Minister, and member of the rightist National Alliance party, proposed the move on Tuesday in what he called a bid to improve interreligious dialogue.

Ronchi also wants to restart dialogue between Muslims and institutions such as the state-backed Islamic Council or Consulta per l'Islam.

However, Ronchi said he did not want Italy's largest Muslim group, the Union of Islamic Communities of Italy (UCOII) to take part in the initiative, calling them "the real exponents of non-dialogue".

"We do not speak to those who deny the existence of Israel," he said.

Ronchi announced his proposal after meeting the vice-president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community (COREIS), Yahya Pallavicini.

Ronchi said that there should be no limit to the existence of mosques in Italy but they should be managed in a transparent manner and included in a national register.

"We need to put a stop to mosques being hurriedly built, without the consensus of the community. We need to match them with the reality of the place," said Ronchi.

The initiative has already been carried out by COREIS, which has trained 20 Italian-speaking imams.

Italy's rightist Northern League, allied to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wants to limit the growth of Islam and block the construction of mosques through strict new regulations.

Source: AKI (English)

See also: Italy: Northern League seeks to block mosque building

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