Italy: Islam in the heartland of Christianity

Italy: Islam in the heartland of Christianity

The creator of the documentary ''L'islam nel Cuore della Cristianita'. Musulmani d'Italia'' (Islam in the heartland of Christianity. Italy's Moslems) is neither a Moslem nor an Italian. Cameroonian, Jivis Tegno has been living in Italy for eighteen years, has two degrees and is now a multimedial publisher.

The 119-minute documentary took six years' work, involving shooting all over the country, visits to 112 mosques, conversations with imams and politicians, intellectuals and some of the exponents of the world of Islam better known to the media. The author also plans to edit a shorter version of the DVD with translated texts for the Arab countries from whence many of Italys Moslem immigrants originate.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

In the West, ''Moslems can now be numbered in their millions. We have no choice but to find out how our neighbours think and how they live. And you cannot talk of Islam only when some crime has been committed or in connection with terrorism, or just debate the use of the veil. This is my small contribution to bringing out into the open something that we do not particularly want to see, but which is nonetheless a reality.''

And from his own position as a foreign immigrant to Italy, he adds that he thinks he has achieved this ''from a more neutral viewpoint: it would be more difficult for an Italian to speak of Moslems without criminalising them''.

The documentary covers a broad panorama: starting from the life of Mohammed, it opens with images of the Vatican - the Heartland of Christianity -. It roams from Italy's capital city to Catania, from Padua to Perugia, and tackles all of the issues that are destined to remain burning ones for some time to come: from pluralism of voices of Italy's Moslem community (numbering around one and a half million) to the suitability of its places of worship, the long-awaited law on religious freedom, the question of the Understanding with Italy for which the community is still unable to get off the ground and which is also linked to accessing public funding.


Although, six months after its release - as Tegno points out - it does not appear to have aroused anybody's interest. Maybe Italians just aren't interested in Islam in Italy? ''I don't think so: it's more that there is a problem within Italy's media system''. And above all, ''in Italy, there is a wall: it doesn't matter how good you are, if you don't know anybody, if you don't get the tip, you just never get over that wall''.


Source: ANSAmed

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