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Italian Article Faults Muslim Call to Prayer in Milan, Italy`s `Covert Mosques`
Il Giornale.it
Sunday, June 19, 2011


 
A group of Muslims hold their Friday prayers outside a mosque in Viale Jenner in Milan, northern Italy, September 9, 2005. REUTERS


Article by Magdi Cristiano Allam: “The Scandal of the Minaret in Milan


“God is great! I bear witness to the fact that there is no other God but Allah! I bear witness that Muhammad is the emissary of God!” The voice of the muezzin, in Arabic, re-echoed from a loud-speaker placed on a metal tower erected as a minaret at the mosque of Cascina Gobba at number 366, Via Padova, at 13.09 last Friday, April 22 2011. That is an historic date: for the first time in Italy, a mosque issued the call to Islamic prayer. This is the most significant challenge of radical Islam to our state ruled by law, after the occupation of Piazza Duomo by around 2,000 Muslims on January 3 2009, in what was a provocative display of Islamic collective prayer before the symbol of Christianity. While back then it was manifestly a case of testing the occupation of our physical space, now it was a case of testing the occupation of our space involving values and identity. In both instances, we are treated as if we were a land ripe for conquest, being seen as a deserted moorland.


Milan has confirmed its status as the Italian capital of the fanatics of Allah. In Viale Jenner stands the most investigated mosque, and the mosque where there is most collusion with international Islamic terrorism. Its imam, Abu Imad, the nom de guerre of Arman Ahmed al-Hissini Helmy, is in jail, serving a sentence of three years and eight months, for “aggravated membership of a criminal group, for the purposes of terrorism.” The grounds for the sentence specify that he personally brainwashed people, and turned a certain number of worshippers into Islamic suicide terrorists, and we have definite information that five of them blew themselves up in Iraq. It was Abu Imad himself who led the occupation of Piazza Duomo. Just as the Libyan terrorist Mohamed Game tried to blow himself up in Milan outside the Santa Barbara barracks on October 12 2009.


At the same time, Milan is emerging as the capital of the Islamically correct. On September 4 2010 Card Tettamanzi (archbishop of Milan) once again called for the construction of a large-scale mosque in Milan, and received backing from Mons Ambrogio Spreafico, chairman of the episcopal commission of the CEI (Italian Bishops Conference) for the evangelization of peoples and cooperation between the Churches. As well -- would you believe -- as applause from the so-called “Islamic Community of Milan,” which owns the Cascina Gobba mosque, which on Friday issued the first Islamic call to prayer in the history of Italy. In a communique dated September 5 2010, it states that the Islamic community in Milan “welcomes with great pleasure the statements by the archbishop of Milan, Card Dionigi Tettamanzi, and thanks him for his great sensibility toward the worshipping needs of Milan`s Muslims. We trust that the mayor, the institutions, and society at large in Milan pick up on the message of civilization which the prelate chose to issue, and begins a process whereby Milan, like all major cities of Europe, can also have, as soon as possible, a large-scale mosque worthy of its prestige, and of the important Islamic community which it plays host to.”


In actual fact, Milan does not need a new large mosque, because there is one already, and it is none other than the Cascina Gobba mosque! It is a piece of real estate totaling 3,091.26 sq mt, comprising a lower ground floor, an upper ground floor, a first floor, and, in part, a second storey. It stands in an area that used to belong to the AEM (Municipal Electricity Company), which was bought by Maher Mohamed Kabakebbji, the chairman of the Waqf al-Islami (Islamic Assets) foundation of the UCOII (Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy), which is an offshoot of the international extremist Islamic movement the Muslim Brotherhood.


The application filed with Milan City Council to be able to create “a new complex designed as a center for cultural events, and as a place of prayer,” was presented in the spring of 2007 by Asfa Mahamoud, the Algerian imam at the Islamic House of Culture in Via Padova, chaired by a Syria n, Mohamed Baha` el-Din Ghrewati, who has been involved in a magistrates` investigation into the propaganda section of the Muslim Brotherhood, and who is a self-confessed polygamist.


Well, the Cascina Gobba mosque could accommodate more than 2,000 worshippers. In common with all of the mosques in Italy, it is officially registered as an Islamic cultural association so as to secure two advantages. First, the possibility of being listed in the special lists of the municipal councils, the provincial councils, and regional councils, and having the benefit of public funds set aside for cultural activities, in addition to the possibility of taking advantage of the tax-deductible 0.5% (charitable donations) by members of the public. Second, they get around the legal and bureaucratic procedure needed to be officially recognized as mosques, in the sense of places of worship that can be compared to synagogues and churches. The result is that they build mosques, passing them off as cultural centers, and we are the ones who give them de facto subsidies! Even though we have no knowledge of what goes on inside, because they speak Arabic, and despite the fact that we are certain that agreed values that lie at the foundation of our civil coexistence are not spread there.


Well, it is time to say enough! Enough covert mosques spreading hatred, violence, and death! No more mosques operating in disguise and violating our law, and making fools of us, exploiting our naivety, our ignorance, our desire to do good, and even the ideological collusion of Christians who end up being more Islamic than the Islamists, becoming fervent supporters of the construction of new mosques while churches become more and more depopulated! No more creeping Islam-ization of Milan and Italy by those who believe in the precept of pretense, and who manage to increasingly expand the network of mosques, Koranic schools, and Islamic welfare and financial institutions, prefiguring the construction of Islamic citadels regulated by the Sharia, Koranic law, within our state, a state governed by the principle of the rule of law!


The time has come for the people of Milan to find out the truth about the Islamic occupation of their city, for the people of Italy to wake up from the slumber of their relativist, do-gooder ideology, and for the institutions to take responsibility for safeguarding our state governed by the principle of the rule of law, and our sovereignty, and also for the Church to adhere to the only truth in Christ, and stop making such great efforts for the construction of mosques. The time has come to choose whether to redeem ourselves so as to be fully ourselves, proud of our Jewish-Christian roots, believers in non-negotiable values, certain of the rules which are based on rights and duties, or else continue along the suicidal route of relativism, do-good-ism, and the Islamically correct, which will reduce us to becoming slaves of Allah, with no longer any certainty over the good of life, dignity, and freedom.


The community: “But God is more powerful than Moratti” – by Luca Fazzo


Milan -- The time was 14.00, on a Saturday afternoon which promised rain, without living up to the promise. In this desolate expanse which is Cascina Gobba -- on the eastern outskirts of Milan, squeezed between the Lambro, the beltway, and the subway -- the electrical muezzin made his voice heard. What comes out of the old ENEL (National Electricity Board) antenna, which has been turned into a metropolitan minaret, are not prayers but, repeated, time after time, continually, only the chant: “God is great.”


Below the antenna there are three small buildings. One is falling apart, the two others have recently been renovated. On the door, the sign says simply “Al-Waqf Al-Islami -- Italian Islamic Property Management Board.” A couple of cars, two beat-up Transits with Bulgarian license plates. The first human being to materialize, a young Arab who emerged from a Giulietta (car), did not look friendly. “What are you doing here, why have you stopped, what do you want?”. But then other men appeared from the mosque, and the conversation became more relaxed, although it took on surreal tones.


They say that here you have turned an old antenna into a kind of minaret. “Antenna? What antenna?”. Well, the one behind, over there. “Ah, there`s an antenna. Anyway, we don`t use it. We would like to have a (sound) system like that, and, God willing, perhaps one day we`ll manage it. For the time being, we only have loud-speakers inside, which we use when there are too many people, to make sure the prayers are heard better by everyone.”


The fact that the loud-speakers positioned at the top of the transmission tower have just stopped issuing invocations to God on high appeared completely irrelevant. Yet, there would be little to hide: the nearest house is hundreds of meters away, the San Raffaele hospital is out of the range of decibels, as is Milano Due; in short, the electric muezzin is not an acoustic nuisance to anyone. But there was now an aura of mistrust, some rancor, and a clear decision to go it alone, setting up facilities for worship with all fixtures and fittings, without having to deal with Italian politics. “In Viale Jenner they banned Friday prayers because it was a nuisance on the sidewalks. They say that the Palasharp, where we now go to pray, will be knocked down. But even if they were to close down all of Milan, we will always find a place to pray, because we are in the hands of God, and God is more powerful than Moratti ((former) Milan mayor).”


The mosque stands at 366, 368, and 370 in Viale Padova. It is an old ENEL installation, bought in 2005 for one and a half million (euros) and turned into a place of worship at the cost of furious clashes within the Islamic community itself: with a Jordanian, Asafa Mahomoud, reporting to the authorities two Syrians, Mohamed Ghrewati Baha`el din and Mohamed Maher Kabakebbji, representatives in Milan from the UCOII, the organization close to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamic Cultural Centre -- which is also in Viale Padova, but nearer to the city center -- was split. And behind it all one glimpses differing political decisions, a more or less marked radical spirit, and also more mercenary conflicts over the handling of the coffers of Al-Waqf Al-Islami, the foundation which manages the proceeds from alms, and especially the funding coming in from abroad.


But now, one year on from its opening, the mosque is fully up and running. “It is a mosque - explained the men outside it -- that is open to everyone, including Italians and Christians, to those who want to understand our culture and our religion.” Indeed, in what is a slightly ingratiating move, they named it after Mary, whom Islam venerates as the mother of a prophet. Alongside the mosque there is a school for young children, whitewashed and pretty. It is not a Koranic school but a kind of afternoon club for schoolchildren, “we teach the children to speak Arabic, we teach our religion, but we do not take the place of the Italian school, they come here above all at weekends, to study and to play.” And there they were, the children, flowing out of the corridors and the classrooms toward the dusty courtyard, followed by the women wearing a veil. Then something happened -- or perhaps it was just a misunderstanding, a false alarm: one of the woman teachers shouted: “The gypsies are here, get inside!”. And the children, wide-eyed and frightened, rushed for shelter: because, as Troisi (Italian comedian) would say, we are all foreigners in someone else`s eyes.


(Description of Source: Milan il Giornale.it in Italian -- Website of right-of-center daily owned by the Berlusconi family; URL: http://www.ilgiornale.it)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


Berlusconi: Opposition wants to turn Milan into an Islamic city
Trend News Agency (Azerbaijan)
May 23, 2011


Less than a week ahead of a run-off vote in a bitterly contested mayoral race in Milan, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday accused the opposition centre- left of wanting to turn the northern Italian city “Islamic,” overrun by Roma and foreigners, DPA reported. “Milan ... cannot become, at the eve of the Expo 2015, an Islamic city, a city of gypsies, full of Roma camps and besieged by foreigners to whom (the left) wants to give voting rights,” Berlusconi said. The premier`s remarks were contained in a message posted on the online site of his People of Freedom (PDL) party. Berlusconi appealed to voters to choose Milan`s outgoing Mayor Letizia Moratti instead of the centre-left`s candidate Giuliano Pisapia - who the premier has branded an leftist extremist - in run-offs scheduled for May 28-29.


Appearing confident of victory, earlier this month Berlusconi had said that Italy`s local elections were a test of his government`s popularity two years before its mandate is due to end. However, last week in a surprise first-round result in Milan, Pisapia a former Communist, forced Moratti into a run-off after capturing some 48 per cent of the vote compared to her 42 per cent. Milan has been a stronghold for the centre-right for almost two-decades and the city is currently governed by a coalition between the PDL and the federalist and anti-immigration Northern League - a party which is also Berlusconi`s junior partner in the national government. Moratti a former national education minister from the PDL, says she opposes the construction of a mosque in Milan as requested by the city`s mostly migrant Muslim community. A mosque in Italy`s financial capital would “create a centre of attraction for Islamic groups from all over Italy who then would not be controllable,” Moratti said. But Pisapia has criticised Moratti`s stance, saying that the city should cater for its Muslim community whose members are currently forced to pray in “informal” venues such as schools and garages. While both candidates say several squatter camps mostly occupied by ethnic Roma in the city`s outskirts should be closed, Pisapia says these camps - which many Milanese associate with crime - are fruit of what he alleges are negligent past policies by the centre-right government.


© 2011 Trend News Agency.


Italian Defense Minister Decries Muslims Using Prayer Rally To Fault Israel
Il Giornale
Sunday, January 11, 2009


 
People kneel down in prayer in front of Milan`s gothic cathedral as they protest Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, during a demonstration in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. Several hundred people, many of them draped in the Palestinian flag, walked through downtown streets, and at least one Israeli flag was burned, during a protest late Saturday afternoon.


Interview with Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa by Sabrina Cottone in Milan, date not given: “Homespun Hamas: Time To Say Enough to Islamic Provocations” -- first paragraph is “Il Giornale” introduction


“It`s not a bad idea to let people know that the Catholic mass is celebrated on the Cathedral Square...Just joking,” says Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa while proceeding, with martial step, toward the cathedral to attend the Saturday afternoon service. Joking aside, La Russa is seriously concerned about mixing religion and politics, a tendency that, with the Muslim prayer gathering held in the cathedral, has found its epicenter in Milan. “Prayer is an act of love, but we say no to para-religious manifestations; there is no need to pray during a political rally.”


(Cottone) Is this a “no” to open-air mosques?


(La Russa) I say we have had our fill of Islamic provocations in Milan. Let me be clear, we have no objection to rallies, which are all legitimate if not violent and confrontational. Nor do we wish to deny anyone the right to pray. In Milan, however, a legitimate rally ended up as a deliberately provocative open-air mosque. And, what is worse, it turned out to be a hatred-venting event, with flags of a friendly country being burned.


(Cottone) If you are opposed to para-religious rallies, why did you go to the Cathedral? Aren`t you running the same type of risk?


(La Russa) What is to be condemned is the short-circuitry between the right to exercise religious freedom and political activity, and in order to avoid this we decided not to organize a rally in the Cathedral Square, preferring instead to summon the citizenry to gather at headquarters of the People of Freedom Party (PdL) to engage in a debate on the theme. And we want no flags, either to burn, or even to wave. Then, individually, those who wanted to also attended mass. This is good for our Christian civilization, and for the faith we profess.


(Cottone) Do you go to church every Sunday?


(La Russa) I am a practicing Catholic, and I go to Church almost every week. The intention is that of going every Sunday, but I do not always manage. I was taught this by my mother, who was a devout Catholic. Usually I do not attend mass in the Cathedral, but this time I decided to do so because I felt the need to reaffirm (my belief) that the Cathedral is a Christian place. We do not wish tore consecrate anything, but those who always attend mass, like myself, this time choose the Cathedral.


(Cottone) Recently, controversy was sparked by the position of Milan Archbishop Dionigi Tettamanzi, who preferred not to talk about the Muslim prayer rally in front of the Cathedral. What is your opinion? Are you satisfied with the apology extended by the Islamic communities?


(La Russa) The other cardinals spoke more openly. Tettamanzi has accustomed us to an excess of prudence in issues regarding relations with Muslims, so much so that the Muslims presented apologies to the cardinal that he personally had not even expected. Let alone that the word “apology” was never even mentioned. Mine is not criticism of the archbishop, but simply an observation. He is a minister of God, and it is not up to me to give him advice. However, even Abdel Shaari, director of Milan`s Islamic Center, was rather nonplussed, and judged that prayer rally to be an error. But the Church can do anything it wants. Christ was crucified along with two thieves....


(Cottone) The archbishop`s homily contained an appeal to grant places of prayer, to reject reciprocity in freedom of worship, and to engage in dialogue.


(La Russa) Homilies are to be listened to, not commented on, but I liked the appeal to peace and brotherhood. I appreciated it. In general, when talking about freedom of worship, I draw from the observations of others. But, what would have happened if a group of Christians had gathered to recite the rosary in front of Mecca? Perhaps they would have been stoned.


(Cottone) Thousands of Arabs have returned to stage another protest, with banners and prayers. Would it be best to avoid peace rallies?


(La Russa) Those who take part in hate rallies and burn flags surely do not help peace, and the Islamic prayer (incident) in Milan was a challenge against peace. The center-right never aligned itself with one side or the other, but it was Hamas that broke the truce. They have never recognized Israel and proclaim that killing Jews is a good thing. This affects me greatly, also because it reminds me of another old slogan which said that killing was not a crime...


(Description of Source: Milan Il Giornale in Italian -- right-of-center daily owned by the Berlusconi family)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


 



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