Triandafyllidou (2002) 'Religious Diversity and
Multiculturalism in Southern Europe: The Italian Mosque
Sociological Research Online, vol. 7, no. 1, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/7/1/triandafyllidou.html>
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Received: 7/1/2002 Accepted: 28/5/2002 Published: 31/5/2002
'In the European Right, movements whose message is based on the re- discovery of the territory, on national regionalism and the 'little homelands', have increased their strength. What they have to offer is politically efficient because it does not only promise reduced taxation or jobs but also offers an identity to populations that are alarmed by social insecurity.' (#27)
'After the attack at gay couples, [the Lega attacks] the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, and then the last incident, [the attack] at the Islamic communities in Italy.' (#29)
'Azzurri [Forza Italia supporters] and Lumbard [Lega supporters] united against the construction of a mosque: Muslims get out of Lodi (..) One thousand protesters at the march, insults to passers-by [inhabitants of Lodi]: cowards, rabbits.' (#129)
'the mosque [construction] is alright, because in Italy there is religious freedom', 'it is a matter of decency and civility. Muslims in Milan are numerous and there is a need for a mosque' (#161).
'If the Municipality is going to give tomorrow a terrain to the mosque, will it not do the same the day after tomorrow with a synagogue, and the day after with an Orthodox church?' (#162)
|Corriere della Sera||CdS||57|
|Corriere della Sera Inserto Lavoro||CdSLA||3|
|Corriere della Sera Cronaca di Milano||CdSMI||2|
|Il Giornale Cronaca di Milano||GMI||22|
|La Repubblica Cronaca di Firenze||LaRFI||9|
|La Repubblica Cronaca di Roma||LaRRO||3|
Page number (Num)
II. Voices (all Yes/No variables)
|Lega local leaders and activists||18||9||Citizenship||6|
|Local and regional authorities||56||27||Citizenship||20|
|7||M||17.10||14||Fazio: 'Porte aperte a chi rispetta le regole' (Fazio [governor of Bank of Italy]: 'open doors to those who respect the rules')|
|19||LaR||15.10||17||L'identità degli italiani e la paura degli immigrati (The identity of Italians and the fear of immigrants)|
|21||LaR||15.10||13||Ma il vescovo non ci sta 'C'è libertà religiosa' (But the bishop disagrees 'there is religious freedom'|
|23||LaR||16.10||14||Il Polo spaccato sull'Islam (The Pole divided on Islam)|
|24||LaR||16.10||14||'Berlusconi richiami il Senatur' (Berlusconi recall the [leader of Lega Nord])|
|28||LaR||17.10||18||'Condanniamo chi discrimina. Intoccabili i diritti religiosi' (We condemn anybody who discriminates. The religious rights [are] untouchable)|
|29||LaR||17.10||19||Il Senatur: libertà di culto? Non è un diritto garantito (The [leader of the Lega Nord]: religious freedom? It is not a right that is guaranteed)|
|31||LaR||17.10||20||Fazio. 'No alla xenofobia ma salviamo le identità' (Fazio [governor of Bank of Italy]: No to xenophobia but let's save [our] identity)|
|34||LaR||18.10||25||'Caro Bossi, così non va' (Dear Bossi [leader of Lega Nord], we cannot continue this way)|
|40||LaR||19.10||23||Solo 560 mila immigrati ecco l''Islam italiano' (Only 560,000 immigrants. Here is the 'Italian Islam')|
|65||LaR||04.11||16||'Imparate a essere tedeschi'. Die Welt pubblica la bozza della proposta di legge della Merkel sull'immigrazione. La Cdu: corsi di lingua e cultura per stranieri ('Learn to be Germans'. Die Welt publishes the draft Merkel bill on immigration. The Cdu: language and culture courses for foreigners)|
|72||LaR||05.11||4||Bossi: 'Ma il Papa fa il suo mestiere' (Bossi: But the Pope does his own job)|
|73||G||11.10||8||Martini: 'Gli immigrati islamici devono accettare le nostre leggi' (Martini [Cardinal of Milan]: 'The Muslim immigrants must accept our laws')|
|76||GMI||13.10||41||Milano sempre più straniera (Milan [becoming] always more foreigner)|
|77||GMI||13.10||44||'Sull'Islam sono più vicino a Martini' ('On Islam I am closer to Martini)|
|82||G||15.10||14||'Faremo a pezzi la moschea di Lodi' ('We will cut down into pieces the mosque of Lodi')|
|83||GMI||15.10||40||Negli oratori largo ai bimbi musulmani (in the Cathechism schools, more room for Muslim kids)|
|86||G||18.10||16||Berlusconi: 'La moschea? A Lodi si è protestato solo contro il terreno gratis' (Berlusconi: 'The mosque? At Lodi the protest was against the [concession of] the terrain for free)|
|87||G||20.10||15||'Permesso di soggiorno a tutti i clandestini' ('A stay permit for all clandestine [immigrants]')|
|90||G||22.10||8||La posizione più delicata è proprio quella dell'Italia (The most delicate position is precisely that of Italy)|
|91||G||22.10||35||Martini agli immigrati: otterrete un aiuto se restate nella legalità ([Cardinal] Martini to the immigrants: you will receive help if you abide by the law)|
|92||GMI||22.10||35||Stranieri e Leonka sgomberati da piazza Duomo (Foreigners a Leonka [Leoncavallo] sweeped away from the Cathedral square)|
|93||G||25.10||1||Gli immigrati divisi reato per reato (Immigrants classified by type of criminal act)|
|94||G||25.10||16||In Italia aumentano gli immigrati ma anche i reati (In Italy immigrant [numbers] increase but so do criminal act [numbers])|
|95||G||25.10||16||'Troppi extracomunitari? Il rimedio è fare più figli' ('Too many non-EU people? The remedy is to have more children')|
|102||GMI||29.10||37||La libertà di culto non è in discussione (Religious freedom is not under question)|
|123||G||05.11||6||La Cdu: gli stranieri dovranno frequentare corsi d'integrazione (Cdu: foreigners will have to attend integration courses)|
|124||G||05.11||6||La giustizia virtuale (Virtual justice)|
|129||CdS||15.10||9||Marcia anti-Islam, Forza Italia con la Lega (March against Islam, Forza Italia [party] with the Lega [party])|
|159||CdS||25.10||1||Gli islamici e noi italiani (Muslims and us Italians)|
|161||CdS||25.10||10||Milano, la Lega contro la nuova moschea (Milan, the Lega against the new mosque)|
|162||CdS||25.10||10||Lodi media sull'Islam, anche i lumbard ora frenano (Lodi mediates on Islam, the [Lega supporters] also pull over)|
|194||LaR||16.12||27||Allah nel tempio dei portuali (Allah, in the temple of the port workers)|
|202||LaRFI||11.10||2||'Insieme, nel rispetto dei ruoli' ('Together, respecting our roles')|
2The term multiculturalism obviously includes a wide range of cultural, religious, linguistic, or other practices. Although the event studied here might be seen as a question of religious pluralism rather than multiculturalism writ large, I think it is proper to discuss the issue in multiculturalism terms as the mosque controversy touched upon the overall question of whether and how the Italian society and state should accept not only the religious faith but also the different traditions, customs and habits of non-EU immigrants.
3After a government crisis, Prodi was replaced in 1998 by former Communist Massimo d'Alema (from the PDS), succeeded in 2000 and until May 2001 by another experienced politician, Giuliano Amato, who had served as Prime Minister of two coalition governments in the early 1990s.
4The Catholic Church has played an important role in Italian politics in the post-war period, securing overwhelming support for the former Christian Democrat party (Democrazia Cristiana) in rural areas. When the DC collapsed under a series of corruption scandals in the early 1990s, the Catholic Church lost its powerful ally in domestic politics but continued to exert important influence over part of the electorate. Moreover, the Church voluntary sector has played an active role in assisting both documented and undocumented immigrants, regardless of their religious faith, in the past decade.
5Law 40/1998 showed for the first time the political will of the Italian government to deal with immigration as a long-term phenomenon providing for ordinary, rather than extraordinary or temporary, measures. The law reiterates and reinforces the equality of treatment and rights between Italians and immigrants and aims at a long-term planning of migratory flows with the co-operation of the governments of the immigrants' countries of origin, acknowledging that there is space in the Italian labour market for foreign workers, provided flows and stays are regulated (see also Guida al Diritto, Inserto speciale, 12.09.1998).
6 In 1998, 3,937 applicants acquired Italian citizenship, 88% of whom through marriage to an Italian citizen (Sopemi 2000: table 12).
7Throughout the debate the terms 'Muslims' and 'immigrants' are used as nearly synonymous. Unless otherwise specified (i.e. when specifically referring to Christian immigrants or to Italian Muslims) all Muslims are considered as immigrants and all immigrants as Muslims.
8La Repubblica (www.repubblica.it) is a large daily published in a tabloid format, of centre-left political orientation. It has consistently supported the centre-left parties in government in the period 1997-2001 and currently in the Opposition. The language used in LaR coverage is dramatic and tends to sensationalise the news although critical opinions are presented too. The newspaper is published in tabloid format and is organised into two sections: a national and a regional-local edition. The newspaper belongs to the De Benedetti- L'Espresso group of media enterprises. The Corriere della Sera (www.corriere.it/edicola/index.shtml) daily is the Milan newspaper par excellence. It is published in Milan (a Rome edition exists too) in a wide sheet format and has a large circulation at a national level. It is of centre-right political orientation and belongs to the Fiat-Rizzoli group. Il Giornale is also based in Milan and belongs to the Berlusconi-Mediaset group. The newspaper was founded by a famous Italian journalist Indro Montanelli, who sold it to the Berlusconi-Mediaset group in the early 1990s because of financial problems. Following Silvio Berlusconi's involvement in the Italian politics, the newspaper has become the unofficial voice of his and his party's, Forza Italia, positions. The language used in the newspaper is dramatic, and the coverage clearly partisan. Il Messaggero is the main local newspaper in Rome and is of centre-left orientation. A large section of the newspaper is devoted to local and regional news of Rome and the Lazio region. In terms of format it resembles very much La Repubblica but the language it uses is less dramatic. Il Messaggero (http://ilmessaggero.caltanet.it) was included in the newspaper selection because of its large circulation in the capital city but also as a good case for testing how issues of local relevance, like the Lodi or Milan controversies, were constructed into national ones, attracting coverage by Il Messaggero too, despite this last's regional bias.
9The indexing scheme (see appendix) systematised what has turned out to be a rather large corpus of data. It enabled me to measure how often the different social and political actors were given a 'voice' through the daily press. Both passive/implicit and active/explicit involvement of a given actor in the discourse was counted as a 'voice' instance and within each article several 'voices' could be indexed.
10These dimensions refer to the main line of argumentation used to define the relevant 'problem' and propose 'solutions'. They are complemented by an in-depth qualitative analysis of the data (see section 3.3 below).
11All quotes originally in Italian have been translated by the author. A list of the newspaper articles cited is given in the appendix.
12Corriere della Sera reports the Lega initiative to collect signatures against the building of the new mosque in a Milanese neighbourhood using interchangeably the terms 'referendum' and 'collection of signatures', thus implicitly legitimising the initiative as a democratic action (#168).
13There is a large number of mosques, synagogues, Christian Orthodox or Protestant churches operating in various Italian cities and towns. Some of them, like the Rome mosque but also most synagogues and Christian temples operate in appropriate buildings. In contrast, there are also many small Islamic temples that operate in flats, shops or courtyards of residential buildings, attracting thus some times the discontent of neighbours. The 'unofficial' nature of some mosques, as contrasted to the beautiful temples of other Jewish and Christian denominations, reflects, in my view, partly the long history of establishment of the former as opposed to the recent arrival of larger Muslim populations. On the whole, mosques do not attract particularly the attention of Italian media or politicians, except in times of 'crisis' as the immediate post-11 September period.
14A table published in Il Giornale (#95) concerning demographic growth in Italy is entitled: '[Italians] in risk of extinction' (#93, #94).
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