Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category

A 26-year-old Tunisian woman has been fined for wearing a face veil while walking to a mosque in northern Italy, adding to the growing debate on the integration of Muslim minorities in Europe.

The police in the city of Novara, a stronghold of Italy’s anti-immigration Northern League, stopped the woman on Friday while she was walking with her husband to prayers. The woman, who is Muslim, was wearing a black niqab that covered her face but left her eyes exposed.

In Germany, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said that talk of a ban on such face veils was “inappropriate and therefore unnecessary” after one house of Belgium’s Parliament voted last week to outlaw veils and France said it would start debating a possible ban soon.

The Italian police fined the Tunisian woman about $650 under a bylaw introduced in January by the mayor of Novara that bans clothing in public that prevents identification by the police.

“We just enforced a local law that stops people from covering their face near sensitive places like schools, hospitals or post offices,” Police Inspector Leonardo Borghesani said.

“We understand the fine is hefty, but she can appeal,” he said.

The Northern League, a coalition ally of conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is pushing for national legislation to outlaw face-covering Islamic garments in public.

Supporters of such bans say the veils negate the dignity of women. But Muslim leaders in Europe have protested against the bans as discriminatory.


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An investigation into Turkey’s ambassador to Rome has found him guilty of alleged sexual harassment, broadcaster NTV reported today, citing a Turkish Foreign Ministry source.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry launched an internal investigation into Ambassador Ali Yakital after a complaint was filed against him for alleged sexual harassment. The probe found that he was guilty of the alleged misconduct.

Yakital was called back to Ankara during the investigation, but he returned to Rome on Tuesday to collect his belongings. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official told NTV that he is expected to quit. Early retirement is also an option, NTV reported.

Before his appointment to Rome, Yakital, a career diplomat for 37 years, worked in the Prime Ministry as Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s main adviser on foreign-policy issues and was known to be part of the premier’s inner circle.

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Italy: Immigrant riots in Milan

Dozens of immigrants from North Africa rioted during the night in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in Milan, smashing shop windows, overturning cars to protest at the knifing death of an Egyptian, Italian police said on Sunday.

The rioting began in the early evening after a 19-year-old Egyptian man, identified by police as Hamed Mamoud El Fayed Adou, was killed, apparently by a group of immigrants from South America.

Police said the North Africans, most of them Egyptians, went on a rampage and some clashed with police in the neighborhood where some 70 percent of shops are owned by immigrants.

A number of Egyptians were detained for questioning and police were still searching for the South Americans believed to have been responsible for the killing.

Police said most of the immigrants were in Italy legally. Nonetheless, the Northern League, an anti-immigrant party in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition, called for the immigrants responsible for the violence to be expelled.

It was the second episode of violence involving immigrants this year.

In early January, riots broke out in southern Italy when immigrants burned cars and broke store windows to protest against an attack on African farm workers by a gang of local white youths.

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