Italian Muslims Fear Anti-veil Campaign

Imam Abu Shwaima said the Muslim minority is trying to ignore the debate in order not to prove the opposition point.

Italian Muslims Fear Anti-veil Campaign
Italian Muslims insist that the current vicious campaign spearheaded by the right-wing Lega Nord party against face-cover is much ado about nothing in light of the very tiny minority of Muslim women who use it, fearing the controversy might drag on to include the hijab right.

"Certain political circles and groups are trying to create any problem concerning Islam so they can attract and shape the attention of neutral Italians," Ali Abu Shwaima, the imam f Segrate Mosque and the Islamic Centre of Milan, told

"We don't have any intention to help them doing that by responding to such issues," he averred, referring to a recent fuss about face-cover.

"In Italy there is no law that prohibits the veil or niqab so there is no need to address something that does not exist, it will only reinforce the opposition."

Recently the veil has become a sign of terror and a sign of anti-integration to the Italian society specially in Milan where the Lega Nord is launching a campaign against the face cover

Party members last week distributed anti-veil flyers among the public in San Babila square in Milan while covering their faces, trying to make their point clear.

The party is trying to gather signatures for a national law obliging women to be recognised in public places. Women who cover their faces would be arrested and fined.

The Italian Senate is expected to discussion the issue of women and Islam, pushing further the veil topic into politics.

A debate has been raging in the West about the niqab since former British foreign secretary and incumbent leader of the House of Commons Jack Straw called on Muslim women to remove their veils.

The governing Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) in the Netherlands has vowed to ban the Muslim face-veil if re-elected on Wednesday, November 22.


Many Italian Muslims believe that the issue of face-cover is not a high priority and that the minority, estimated at some 1.5 million, should not be polarized in the debate.

"Since the niqab (face-cover) is not a fard (obligation) we advised Muslim women not to wear it in order not to fuel the current debates," said Imam Abu Shwaima.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.

As for the niqab, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is not obliged to cover her face or hands, but it is up to her to decide.

Mr. Hamza Piccardo – Secretary of the European Muslims network led by Swiss Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan and the shura speaker for the UCOII union of the Muslim community in Italy, agreed.

"We have advised the sisters not to wear the niqab, we want to defend the Hijab and not an extreme choice that is not shared by everyone," he told IOL.

Hamza asserts that a very small percentage of Muslim women do cover their faces.

"The Muslim community doesn't want to make a fuss out of it and amplify the dimension of the problem they want to solve and cover all the problems that Muslims in general face in Italy."

Mrs. Nadeera, a Moroccan woman who has been living in Italy for the past six years, rejects any attempt to control the freedoms of others.

"It is the choice of others to wear a niqab or not," she told IOL.

"I myself do not wear it because I don't believe in it but I am not against it though. I wouldn't vote against it. I would only vote for the respect of others," said Nadeera, asserting that she feels comfortable with her hijab even though some Italians might not understand why she is wearing it.

Vile Campaign   

Santanchè dismissed the veil as "an instrument for feminine submission," claiming that Muslim women wear hijab because they are afraid, oppressed by the masculine culture.

Abu Shwaima said Muslims are trying to introduce the peaceful message of Islam through state channels and programs.

But he himself has been the victim of a vile campaign by the right-wing on claims of threatening MP Daniela Santanchè over the veil issue.

"I did not make any threats or assaults to Ms. Daniela. I simply replied back when she said that in Qur'an there is no verses that woman should be covered," he asserted.

"This is when I replied saying that she does not have a great knowledge of the Qur'an," added Abu Shwaima.

"Ms. Daniele wanted to make a fuss out of it claiming that I threatened her and therefore she needs to have a government security, which she did not get anyway because no threats were made by me."

Santanchè likened the veil to the yellow badge which was a mandatory piece of cloth of specific geometric shape worn on the outer garment in order to distinguish a Jew in public.

She dismissed the veil as "an instrument for feminine submission," claiming that Muslim women wear hijab because they are afraid, oppressed by the masculine culture.

Asmae Dahchan, a volunteer correspondent to Islam network in Italy, stressed that "every woman is free to choose what she can dress, which colour, based on her taste and her needs and her personality."

She criticized whoever wants Muslim women to remove their veils.

"He has his mind veiled, which prevent him from being objective and realistic, while the veil that we wear is not a prevention."

Imam Abu Shwaima agreed.

"Any woman who does not wear the hijab is her business with God and none shall intervene."


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Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16