Bepi Pezzulli
International counsel & foreign policy adviser

The Voice of Italy – Part II

Islamic fundamentalism has been making inroads into Italy and the country has offered a stage for its propaganda

Islamic fundamentalism has found a sure way to make slow and steady inroads into Italy.

The latest unfortunate turn has seen the Italian Parliament opening the doors of the country to the Islamic fundamentalist propaganda of Qatar – the primary backer of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

On May 27, the Italian Senate ratified a bilateral treaty between Italy and Qatar, which allows this fundamentalist Arab emirate to finance universities and scholarships in Italy, to promote the teaching of the Arabic language in its schools and to provide for cultural and student exchanges between the two countries.
In short, a State that applies Sharia law, does not recognize equal rights between men and women, continues to allow the practice of child brides, deems homosexuality, apostasy and Christian proselytism as serious crimes and practices torture will have the power under this bilateral treaty to legally publicise and diffuse not only its fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, but also its antidemocratic and authoritarian vision of government throughout Italy.

Furthermore, Qatar does not recognise the State of Israel and has been known to provide funding to Hamas.

The parliamentary majority’s move flies in the face of the Italian Constitution, based, as it is, on the values of freedom, equality and democracy and harms 70 years of consistent foreign policy grounded in the defence of Western culture.

Many Italian politicians appear incapable to fathom and contain what is a deliberate strategy underpinning the process of Islamisation supported and financed by fundamentalist states such as Qatar.

In a preoccupying back-to-back escalation, this is the second time within a brief timespan that Italy gives in to the fundamentalist version of Islam.
Recently, Italy, through the intercession of the Turkish intelligence services, paid a substantial sum of money for the liberation and repatriation of Silvia Romano, a young NGO volunteer who had been abducted in Kenya by Al-Shabaab, the Somali terrorist organisation affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

Since her return home, the Italian media has reported that Romano is planning to return to Somalia in order to be reunited with her jailer, who apparently became her husband during her 18-month detention.

The 25-year-old woman announced that she had converted to Islam and changed her name to Aisha (one of the beloved wives of the Prophet Muhammad).

In interviews with the Italian media, she also praised the treatment she received during her detention.

What’s more, on May 10, she landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport, disembarking from an Italian military aircraft wearing a green dress in observance to the Islamic habit. The green dress, known as Jalbib, is distinctive of the fundamentalist brand of Islam practiced by Al-Shabaab who flaunt their violence against women whom they consider to be inferior.

Whilst religion (and conversion to a religion for that matter) belongs to one’s most intimate sphere and the freedom thereof is protected by the Constitution, no one had the courage to address the elephant in the room by denouncing the brand of Islam embraced by Romano, who was freed with taxpayers’ money. It should have been stated that those who adhere to Al-Shabaab follow a fundamentalist interpretation of the Quran, rejected by large swathes of the Muslim world, which can find no place in Italy or in any democracy.

What had to be the trophy repatriation of the prisoner has become a commercial for the terrorists of Al-Shaabab, who received an estimated four million euro in ransom paid, of course, by Italian taxpayers.

Whether clumsy or intentional, Islamic influence has been growing amid indifference. Whatever political side of the political fence one stands in Italy, this is worrisome because it promises nothing but trouble.

About the Author
Bepi Pezzulli is a Solicitor specialised in International law and a foreign policy adviser focused on Israel, the UK and the US. Currently, he is Executive Director of Italia Atlantica, a think-tank based in Rome, Italy. In 2018, he published "The other Brexit" (Milano Finanza Books), investigating the economic and geopolitical implications of Brexit. He is a columnist for the Italian daily financial newspaper Milano Finanza; and a pundit for the financial TV channel CNBC. He received degrees at Luiss Guido Carli in Rome (LLB), New York University (LLM), and Columbia University (JD).
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