At the same time as new security measures are being introduced, the Italian government has launched an initiative to improve relations with the country’s Muslim community. The Interior Ministry is setting up an Italian Islamic Council which will bring together officials and muslim leaders. Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu said: “The council will move towards the creation of an Italian Islam, respectful of our national identity and our laws and at the same time protected in its identity.” The aim of the body is to give advice on the new security legislation and open a channel of communication with Muslims. But some believe the government is over-reacting to a perceived terrorist threat. One Islamic community leader said: “If the government creates a council for security reasons I think it will not counter the terror threat.” But other Muslims have welcomed the initiative. “I believe it’s a good idea because people tend to associate all Muslims with extremists who are responsible for attacks,” said one man.
Italy reaches out to its Muslims