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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Italy’s right-wing party prepares draft law to ban Muslim prayer spaces outside of mosques

Opposition lawmakers oppose draft bill being discussed in parliament's environment committee, saying if passed, it will restrict religious freedom

A right-wing coalition party in the Italian government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has prepared a draft law intended to ban Muslim prayer spaces outside of mosques, according to local media.

The bill proposed by the Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, which is currently being debated in parliament’s environment committee, aims to prohibit the use of garages and industrial warehouses as mosques, the daily 24 Ore reported on Saturday.

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Cultural and religious organizations that have not signed an agreement with the Italian state will not be allowed to use a property as a place of worship, the daily said, adding that the country’s Muslim community has not signed any such agreement with the state. The bill, according to the daily, was opposed by lawmakers from opposition parties in the parliament’s environment committee, who said if it were passed, it would restrict freedom of religion.

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Sami Salem, the imam or prayer leader at the Magliana Mosque in Rome, told the daily that “It is a bill that clearly discriminates against Muslims and does not respect the Italian Constitution that protects all citizens living in Italy.”

Izzeddin Elzir, another imam of the Muslim community in the northern province of Florence, expressed his concerns about the legality of the draft law to the daily.