Italia har en innvandrerbefolkning på fire til fem millioner, om lag en million av disse har muslimsk bakgrunn. Den mangelfulle integreringen av den muslimske befolkningen generelt, fører til en økende skepsis blant italienere, rapporterer CBN News (ikke tilgjengelig på nettet).
Italy‘s Brewing Anti-Immigrant ClimateBy George ThomasCBN News Senior ReporterMay 2, 2009CBNNews.com – ROME — Italy is home to one of the largest concentration of immigrants in Europe. The country has an aging population and low birth rates. And so Italy depends heavily on immigrant labor. But there are signs that Italians are becoming intolerant of immigrants. Charges of Italian racism are widespread.
Scared To Be An Immigrant
A few miles from the Vatican at Rome’s main train and bus station, 31-year-old Mamun Maruf feels a little uneasy these days. Maruf spoke with CBN News on a recent afternoon in Rome.He showed us his immigration papers that he says he has to take with him every time he leaves his house. The document allows him to work and to live in Italy, even though the paper he showed to CBN News was a photocopy.
CBN News asked Maruf why do he had to carry the document with him all of the time?»Because, if the police stopped me and I didn’t have my immigration papers, I would be in trouble,» he replied.Maruf is an IT specialist from Bangladesh and a practicing Muslim. He moved to Rome eight years ago in search of a better life.»I have more opportunities here to succeed in my career than back home,» said Maruf as he walked through a busy market near Rome’s main train station.
But then came the anti-immigrant protests.»Security is the priority, immigrants out of the city,» shouted an Italian protester at a recent anti-immigrant demonstration in Rome.A wave of racially-motivated attacks and reprisals has gripped parts of the country.»Immigrants have been beaten up, mainly because they are black or they are foreigners,» said Fabian, an immigrant from Africa.Tensions are high after a series of brutal attacks and rapes have been blamed on immigrants.»The temperature is rising and we can feel it,» said Maruf.This prompted Amnesty International’s office in Rome to issue this warning:»Italy is in danger of becoming one of the most dangerous places for immigrants and minorities,» said Daniela Carboni, a spokesperson for Amnesty International.
Climate Of Discrimination
Carboni says there’s a climate of discrimination that’s spreading across the country, fueled in large part by the country’s ruling political parties.»It is normal these days to hear politicians publicly attack immigrants using racist language,» she said.Human rights groups have accused Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition government of discriminating against immigrants. Berlusconi’s coalition includes the Northern League, an openly anti-immigrant party.The Northern League has in recent months pushed to make illegal immigration a crime, requiring Italian doctors to report patients who don’t have a valid visa or work permit and create separate classrooms for Italians and immigrant children.The Italian government recently passed security laws to further crackdown on illegal immigrants.»We’ve had a number of violent crimes allegedly committed by immigrants, especially against women, said Carboni. «But politicians are unfairly using these incidents to target all communities based on their ethnicity.»
Italians Welcome Crackdown
But the tough measures resonate with the Italians and have boosted Berlusconi’s popularity. Polls show that a majority here believe immigrants have too many rights and that many of them should be deported.Italy has a sizeable immigrant population- between 4 to 5 million people– roughly about 7 percent of the population. Some 670,000 are illegal immigrants. Italy also has a growing Muslim community — numbering around one million. And they too are feeling the heat.»Once in a while I’ll ask people what they think about the Muslims living here and if it is a problem for them,» Maruf said. «Sometimes they look uncomfortable.»
Polls show many Italians do not trust Muslims and a third of Italians don’t want a mosque in their neighborhood.Now there’s a bill pending in the Italian parliament that would block the construction of new mosques.If passed, the law would ban mosques from being built within one mile of a church, force Imams to speak Italian and forbid the use of loudspeakers to call the faithful to pray.»I’ve asked the parliament and the Minister of Interior to stop the construction of all new mosques for at least two years,» said Isabella Bertolini, a member of the Italian parliament. «We also need to monitor all the existing mosques to verify what exactly is going on inside these places.»
Anti-Muslim Sentiments Rising
There are daily reports in the Italian press about government attempts to crackdown on immigrants. But this anti-immigrant, especially anti-Muslim sentiments are not just isolated to Italy. In fact today, all across Europe these sentiments are rising.»Many in these Muslim don’t want to integrate with the larger European society,» said Bertolini. «They live separate lives. For example, here in Italy 80 percent of the Islamic women don’t speak Italian. 83 percent don’t go outside the house without their husband or a man from their family. They educate their children in separate schools. They speak only Arabic. This is a problem.»Bertolini and others believe Europe is being turned into an Islamic province by Muslim immigrants and that more needs to be done to stop the tide.In the meantime, Maruf says life for Muslims and other immigrants in Italy will get more complicated as the country navigates through the changing demographic landscape.»The government thinks there are too many immigrants in this country but the truth is that we are part of the future of this country and we need to deal with it», said Maruf.*Originally aired April 28, 2009