Italian coalition partner the Northern League has followed up comments by its interior minister in the Berlusconi government, and will get a moratorium on new mosque building debated in parliament.
The minister says it is hard to distinguish between places of worship and hotbeds of extremism, and regulations are needed. His supporters agree:
“With this proposal, we hope to be able to control what happens inside the mosques. For example, by setting up a registry of imams, banning any non-religious activity and imposing the Italian language,” said the League’s Roberto Cota.
The Vatican’s top cultural spokeman Gianfranco Ravasi weighed into the argument, defending Muslim’s right to spiritual centres appropriate to their needs:
“A place of worship is dedicated to meeting with God and also to charity towards your brothers. If other improper activities are carried out, of course the State has the right to verify and to control”.
The argument was sparked by the discovery on Tuesday of two Moroccans allegedly preparing a terror attack on Milan, in a social centre and mosque in the city.