After the killing in the northern Italian city of Brescia of a young Pakistani woman by her own family, Adnkronos International reports that in a letter to Italy’s Interior Minister Giuliano Amato, the female president of the Confederation of Moroccans in Italy, Souad Sbai, is urging to put violence against Muslim women on the agenda of the government-appointed advisory body on Islamic affairs (the “Consulta Islamica”):
In the letter, seen by Adnkronos International (AKI), Sbai, who has studied the problems of Muslim women in Italy, asked how many more women would die in the name of Islam.
"We have seen from the episode of the young Pakistani woman murdered in Brescia how religion can become a state within a state and Islamic law be inculcated in the minds of many Muslim parents who live in our country by self-styled, uneducated preachers (imams), " Sbai stated.
Hina’s father, Mohammad, apparently cut her throat last week in Sarezzo after she repeatedly refused an arranged marriage to a cousin in Pakistan. The 20-year-old woman was romantically involved with an Italian, had gone to live with him, worked in a pizzeria and wanted to become an actress.
"These imams are religious extremists who accord women no rights," Sbai stressed. For years, they have been operating from makeshift mosques in garages or Halal butchers’ shops, have fanned misogyny, have terrorised immigrant Muslim communities and have retarded their integration, she said.
"Minister, for how long much must we continue to turn a blind eye on a situation that harms our women, who are forced to endure this type of abuse? Must we wait for further violence, more segregration, and see more Muslim women being humiliated and even have their throats slit?" Sbai asked.
"Must Muslim women have to endure polygamy, even if this is prohibited by Italian law? Must they be slaves under the sexist or paternalist yoke of extremists? Those who arrive in Italy are immured in their homes and often subjugated by the ignorance in which they are kept," Sbia said.
She claimed Muslim women’s documents are being confiscated by their husbands or fathers when they get to Italy, which forces them to live clandestinely and prevents them from being able to bring domestic violence charges against male relatives. Sbai denounced the forced return of Muslim girls at 14 or 15 years of age to their countries of origin to become victims of arranged marriages.
"The objective is to prevent these girls from becoming Westerners, not just through gaining citizenship but above all through embracing Western societies’s shared values of liberty and democaracy. These girls have no country that protects them: they are immigrants in Italy and foreigners in their countries of origin," Sbai stressed.
Following the apparent ‘honour killing’ last week of Hina, 20, allegedly by her father, Muhammad, Amato has signalled that tougher rules may be needed for Italian citizenship, for which Muhammad – a legal resident in Italy since 1989 – had recent applied.
Amato said immigrants wanting Italian citizenship must demonstrate they uphold human rights and respect for women – not just swear loyalty to the Italian constitution as required by the government’s new citizenship bill due to be debated by the Italian parliament next month. Hina disappeared last Thursday and last Saturday was found buried beneath the family home in Sarezzo, facing Mecca with her throat cut. Muhammad has been arrested in connection with her murder and has reportedly confessed to killing his daughter.
Police investigating Hina’s killing are searching for her-brother-in-law and have also detained her uncle. They suspect Hina her father may not have acted alone in planning and carrying out her murder. The slaying has shocked Italy and has been condemned by Muslim community leaders.
Hina’s boyfriend, Giuseppe Tempini, a carpenter has reportedly tried to commit suicide since her death.
There is a debate now going on in Italy: was Tiziano Terzani a secular saint, a Guru, or even “the lay Pope?” Terzani (see Wikipedia and The Guardian), before wearing a long white beard and robe and living in an Indian ashram, was a former war correspondent and an expert on China and Japan—he wrote for Der Spiegel, Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica—who covered wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
Are you Catholic and fond of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony? Good news at last! Something can help you stay in high spirits: good times are coming back again. But let’s try to be methodical.
Benedict XVI, who is highly competent in the area of sacred music, is also known as severely critical of what he considers the degradation of music following the Second Vatican Council. The Pope has written on a number of occasions that he wants to restore to the Catholic liturgy the great music that “from Gregorian chant passes through the music of the cathedrals and polyphony, the music of the Renaissance and the Baroque, to Bruckner and beyond.”
In a message to the participants at the congress of the Vatican Congregation for Worship, hold onDecember 5 2005, he encouraged them “to reflect upon and evaluate the relationship between music and the liturgy, always keeping close watch over practice and experimentation.” In turn, in the same occasion, cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Worship, criticized the musical fashions found in many churches, which he characterized as “chaotic, excessively simplistic, and unsuitable for the liturgy.”
As Italian Vaticanist Sandro Magister reported, during that congress
But one could gather this above all from the applause that punctuated and concluded the address by monsignor Valentino Miserachs Grau, president of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, the liturgical-musical “conservatory” of the Holy See, which has the task of training Church musicians from all over the world.
With concise and concentrated arguments, Miserachs argued forcefully on behalf of the revival of Gregorian chant, beginning with the cathedrals and monasteries, which ought to take the lead in this rebirth.
And he called upon the Church of Rome finally to act “with authority” in the area of liturgical music, not simply with documents and exhortations, but by establishing an office with competency in this regard, as it did for example with the pontifical commission dedicated to the Church’s cultural heritage.
“This is the opportune moment, and there is no time to waste,” Miserachs concluded, clearly referring to the reigning pope.
With this concert, Benedict XVI has symbolically restored the Sistine Chapel to its true maestro. Because the famous chapel is not only the sacred place decorated with the frescoes of Michelangelo, it also gives the name to the choir that for centuries has accompanied the pontifical liturgies.
Bartolucci’s replacement was the finishing stroke of the almost complete elimination of Gregorian chant and polyphony as desired by the authors of the postconciliar liturgical reform.
His positions then were isolated. But with his election as pope, Ratzinger immediately indicated his intention to proceed, in the liturgical and musical field, with what he calls “the reform of the reform.”
In a speech at the presentation at Rome‘s city hall of Elena Polidori‘s book, Via Nazionale. Splendori e Miserie della Banca d’Italia, Italian Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said that
“[t]he Bank of Italy has experienced its worst period, now with Mario Draghi it is recovering its prestige but it will not be as it used to be, it cannot be a sacred institution anymore, we need secularisation. Italy no longer needs a sacred institution, but a serious and reliable central bank that will efficiently carry out its institutional duties, led by a governor, not a saint.”
With regard to former Governor Antonio Fazio, and reminding that “Draghi’s predecessor talked a lot,” he added:
“Alan Greenspan once said to me: ‘Why do you speak so much? I only speak once a year before Congress.’" (Source: AGI-Italy On Line)
A seminar was held in Rome last week (on May 31) to discuss the reasons why the Left has forgotten its own principles. The speakers at the seminar were Paul Berman, Christopher Hitchens, John Lloyd, Piero Fassino (general secretary of the Democrats of the Left), and Adriano Sofri (former leader of the far Left Lotta Continua).
Should you read about Italy in the financial press, you might be excused for thinking that the days of la dolce vita are over: “zero growth, record deficits and staggering unemployment,” writes Newsweek International in its May 1, 2006 issue. This woeful record, after all, was the main issue raised by Romano Prodi in his campaign. Nevertheless, Berlusconi fell short of controlling the Camera dei Deputati (the lower house of Parliament) by getting only 25,000 votes out of 38 million less than his competitor. Which suggests that half of Italy concluded that life in Italy is still sweet.
Excerpts from Time’s special report on Italy, focused on The Fading Future Of Italy’s Young: