Feb 3 2012
The mosque, to be built in the medieval town of Salemi in southwestern Sicily, is being paid for by the oil-rich Persian Gulf Emirate of Qatar. Supporters of the mosque hope it will become a reference point for Muslims in Sicily as well as the rest of Italy. Construction of the mosque reflects the growing influence of Islam in Italy, which is now home to an estimated 1.5 million Muslims.
Sicily is, of course, a highly symbolic location for Italy’s multiculturalists, who often tout the island as the quintessential interfaith utopia. Never mind that Christians and Jews were famously persecuted during the two centuries that Sicily was dominated by Muslim rule. Sicily experienced full-fledged, jihad-imposed dhimmitude for both its Christian and Jewish inhabitants, particularly during the 9th century.
Injurious and troublesome were the statutes of the civil regulations. The dhimmi were forbidden to carry arms, to ride horseback, or to put saddles on their donkeys and mules; to build their homes taller than or even as tall as those of the Muslims; to use Islamic first names and even to use seals with Arabic lettering. Furthermore they were forbidden to drink wine in public, to accompany their dead to the cemetery with funeral pomp and lamentation; the women were forbidden to enter a public bath when Muslim women might be there, or to remain there if Muslim women arrived.
And just so that they wouldn’t forget their inferior status for a moment, the dhimmi were enjoined to keep a sign on the doors of their homes, one on their outer garments, to use turbans of a different style and color, and above all to wear a belt made of leather or wool. Along the streets they were forced to yield the right of way to the Muslims or, if they were seated in a group, to stand up at the arrival or departure of a man of the victorious race… …it was forbidden to display crosses in public, to read the gospel so loud that the Muslims could hear it, to speak with them about the Messiah; or vigorously to ring bells or to sound clappers [wooden noisemakers used exclusively in Holy Week ceremonies
The Jews, as every one knows (and there were quite a few living in Sicily then), were subject to the same laws. It is worth noting that everything that I wrote about the dhimmi, and what I will say about the slaves, was drawn from the examples of other countries, but it should be considered as prescribed in Sicily as well, due to the similarity of the circumstances and the uniformity of Muslim customs.
The Muslim occupation of Sicily came to an end in 1222, when the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II de-Islamicized the island in response to an ill-conceived revolt by Ibn Ibbad, the last Emir of Sicily.
Muslims began returning en masse in the 1970s, thanks to immigration from North Africa and the Middle East. They also began building mosques. In 1980, Catania, a city on the eastern coast of Sicily, became home to Italy’s first modern mosque. Also known as the Omar mosque, the mosque in Catania was financed by Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
The Catania mosque was followed by the mosque in Segrate near Milan (1988), and run by the Muslim brotherhood. This was followed by the mega-mosque in Rome (1994), financed by Saudi Arabia. The Mosque of Rome, which can accommodate more than 12,000 people, is one of the largest mosques in Europe. The imam of the mosque, an Egyptian Islamist unable to speak Italian, was suspended after preaching Jihad to Rome’s 90,000 Muslims.
Fast forward to 2012: there are now an estimated 500 mosques in Italy, not to mention thousands of informal Islamic prayer centers and Koranic schools, most of which are housed in basements, garages and warehouses.
Many of the mosque projects in Italy have been promoted by leftwing politicians, who are waging an ideological war with the Roman Catholic Church. As in many other European countries, multiculturalists in Italy hope that by promoting Islam, they will eventually succeed in destroying the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.
Not surprisingly, most Italians are opposed to the idea of turning Italy into an Islamic republic. Polls show that many Italians view mosques as a “symbol of occupation” and more than a third do not want a mosque in their neighborhood.
In the table below, ITALY is represented by “I”
Public backlash over the construction of mosques picked up steam in 2006, when the multicultural mayor of Colle di Val d’Elsa, a picturesque Tuscan town situated on the road between Florence and Siena, decided his town would be the perfect location for Italy’s second-biggest mosque.
The town council, dominated by leftwing do-gooders, donated the land for the mosque, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Funding to the tune of €500,000 ($650,000) came from Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest bank in Italy.
Local residents were livid and have repeatedly succeeded in postponing the opening of the mosque. The activism prompted citizens in other parts of Italy to block the construction of dozens of new mosques in towns and cities across the country.
In 2007, the mayor of the northern Italian city Bologna postponed the construction of a mega-mosque (described as a “massive 6,000 square meter mosque inside a 52,000 square meter Islamic citadel”) after it emerged that it was being financed byL’Unione delle Comunità e Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (UCOII), the largest Muslim Brotherhood organization in Italy.
After it came to light that an estimated 60% of the mosques in Italy are controlled either directly or indirectly by the Muslim Brotherhood, Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni called for a moratorium on the building of new mosques until a new national law could be written to regulate the phenomenon.
According to Manes Bernardini, a politician with the Northern League in Bologna, “Mosques are springing up like mushrooms, and mayors can do nothing about it because there is no national law to regulate the proliferation of these structures.”
After years of complaints from local residents, the Italian government in July 2008 ordered the closure of the infamous Viale Jenner mosque in central Milan. Thousands of Muslims attending Friday prayers spilled out onto the streets, creating an “unsustainable situation.”
Although the mosque’s imam, the Egyptian-born Abu Imad, was jailed on terrorism charges in April 2010, the mosque remains open.
In another act of defiance described by some as “an incredible provocation,” more than 5,000 Muslim immigrants occupied the central piazza in front of the Duomo of Milan to pray toward Mecca. According to Mario Borghezio, an Italian MEP, “The prayer to Allah recited by thousands of fanatical Muslims is an act of intimidation, a slap in the face for the city of Milan, which must remain Christian.”