Italy Issues Values Code for Muslims

The centre-left Italian government unveiled on Tuesday, April 24, a code of values that religious minorities, particularly Muslims, in the European country should abide by.

Italy Issues Values Code for Muslims
"Types of clothing that cover the face are not acceptable because they prevent the identification of the person and are an obstacle to the interaction with others," said the charter cited by Agence France Presse (AFP).

The Charter of Values, Citizenship and Immigration does not address the issue of whether girls could wear hijab in state schools, which is at the heart of the debate in most of Europe.

The seven-page states that polygamy is contrary to the rights of women.

Carlo Cardia, the head of the drafting committee, said the document calls for "monogamous family and wants to prevent women from experiencing humiliation and polygamy."

Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said the document serves as a guide for relations between the different communities in Italy.

He insisted that it is non-binding and "cannot be imposed on anyone."

The document says immigrants requesting Italian citizenship should speak Italian and know "the essential elements of the national history and culture".

Around 3 million legal immigrants lived in Italy at the end of 2005, according to the latest official data.

Religious minorities in the predominantly Roman Catholic country include Muslims, Jews and Buddhists.

Italian Islam

Amato said the charter should help "consolidate Italian Islam."

But the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy (UCOII), which took part in drafting the charter, had reservations.

"This is not a discriminating Charter, it's a Charter for equality," said UCOII leader Mohamed Nour Dachan.

But he lamented how the document mistakenly referred to some delicate issues for Muslims, especially the veil.

"The veil is never humiliating for the woman who wears it," said Dachan.

The rightwing Lega Nord party launched last year a campaign against the face cover calling for a national law banning women from wearing it in public places.

Dachan said the charter should have highlighted the peaceful message of Islam and its positive role in the history of Europe.

"We recognize the culture and the religion of this country, but Islam too has given a lot to Europe and maybe this could have been mentioned."

Italy has a Muslim population of some 1.2 million, including 20,000 reverts, according to estimates published by the mass-circulation daily Corriere Della Sera.
Last Mod: 25 Nisan 2007, 13:27
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