In Italy it is time for the administrative elections. This electoral test has surely, as at beginning Berlusconi suggested, a national value. After the first electoral turn, last week, for Berlusconi things are not so good. In his Milan stronghold, the oppositional candidate, with a clear Communist past, has won the first part of the competition. Berlusconi’s main ally, the xenophobic and Islamophobic Lega Nord, was furious with the result and Berlusconi’s government now has to dance a different Bunga Bunga. The fear that the Left will take control of Milan, the city-symbol of Berlusconism, is enough to convince Berlusconi himself to adopt Lega Nord’s favourite weapon: what I call the ‘Mamma the Turks’ strategy.
The debate, despite enlightenment and modernization, remains the same as that which Dante advocated in the Divine Comedy: is Islam evil or a religion of peace? On one side of the argument, and siding with Dante, is Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician and self-declared ‘Islamophobe’ in the real meaning of the word (fearing Islam as religion). Of course, for both Dante and Wilders (who is facing trial in his own country), Islam and the Qur’an are, in the very words of Wilders, ‘bad’ and ‘evil’. Wilders also used adjectives such as ‘retarded’, ‘fascist’ and ‘anti-democratic’ – thus dangerous and worthy of being banned. Different variations on a theme of ‘Islam is evil’ can also be found in the work of several authors, for example Robert Spencer, Bat Ye’or and Magdi Allam among many others. Continue reading
Recently Malaysia has been at the centre of another controversy. After the fatwa against Yoga (in which it was suggested that Muslims were better to abstain from it), the sentence against Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno (who was condemned to strokes of an “Islamic” cane), and the severed cow heads left on an area awaiting the construction of a Hindu temple, today churches, and other non-Muslim places of worship, have been torched over the issue of whether non-Malay Muslims, and in particular Christians, can use the word ‘Allah’. The Malay government, controlled by UMNO, clearly supports the opinion that “Allah” is, at least linguistically, a Malay Muslim theo-semiotic possession, despite the word being Arabic. Yet to understand the present situation we need to look at how Muslim Malaysians make sense of their social political identity within the country. Continue reading
Some of you reading the title of this post may think that I am referring to the most hedonistic prime minister in the world: Silvio Berlusconi and his adventures with teenagers as well as professional, and well paid, escorts. Yet, I am actually referring to another, less known and less publicized, case which has been taking place in Australia since May 2009. A quite unknown filmmaker has decided to sponsor his new ideas through the ever- successful use of blasphemy.
The filmmaker Justin Sisely wishes to produce a ‘documentary’ that will follow two virgins (one male and female) as they auction their virginity to unknown bidders. To succeed in his attempt, he, of course, needs certified virgins. Today, as we know, (at least in the ‘Western’ hemisphere) this is not a simple task, and to find two who are willing to prostitute their first intercourse is probably even harder. Continue reading
Muslims in the UK, as in another countries both in the geographical west or east, have to reflect carefully on the issue of child abuse within their heterogeneous communities as well as religious organisations, instead of wrapping themselves in a cloak of embarrassment, silence, and unacceptable complicity reinforced by the shared idea that, as in an interview one person told me, ‘these things do not happen in our community and do not happen among Muslims’. In reality they happen as often as in other communities, regardless of ethnic and religious background. Continue reading
Here is the work of an unknown Italian artist, representing a Muslim and his hate for our civilization….No, oops, sorry…it is not a Muslim, it is a Jew. Well, to correct the mistake, this is an unknown Italian artist in 1941 representing the Jewish domination of America, in particular New York City, recognizable here by the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline. You can see this anti-Semitic wartime poster at the Florida Holocaust Museum. Today in Italy, the traditional fascist hatred of the Jew is increasingly substituted by a hatred of Muslims, all of them, children, women and men. Today Muslims in Italy are not so differently represented as their Semitic brothers were during the time of the Fascio and the Eia Eia alala. Continue reading
When Joseph Alois Ratzinger was elected Pope he selected the name Benedict XVI, a direct reference to Benedict XV, a Pope who had to witness the carnage of the First World War. Yet after the beginning of his pontificate, I start to think that Ratzinger’s decision to adopt the name of one of the less remembered popes was not just to celebrate Benedict XV’s human approach to the tragedy of the war, but rather Benedict XV’s late formed idiosyncrasy toward whatever could possibly smell of modernism and relativism. During the first year of Ratzinger’s pontificate we have observed a change in the attitude of the Catholic Church. Karol Wojtyla’s (Pope John Paul II) idea of the Catholic Church had a clear multi-strategy approach, which I may call ‘enlightened conservatism’.