Milan Muslims renounce terrorism

Hundreds of Muslims denounce Paris killings.

Milan’s central Piazza S. Babila saw a demonstration by Italy's Muslim communities on 21 November denouncing the ISIS outrage in Paris under the slogan “Not in my Name”.

Timed to coincide with a similar demonstration in Rome's Piazza Santi Apostoli, the gathering included members of some 90 Islamic associations in Milan and Monza-Brianza provinces, said organiser Davide Piccardo of CAIM, the Coordination of Islamic associations. Many came with their children to hold up posters announcing “Not in my name”.

There’s no place for terrorism in our community,” Piccardo told reporters, “and this escalation of violence has us seriously worried. Islamophobia creates tension, when we need dialogue. We’re happy with this turnout, the best way to make people understand that we reject every form of violence.”

Piccardo took the opportunity to plead for an officially recognised central mosque in Milan, saying this would bring more peace for everybody. Out of some 700 mosques in the two provinces of Milan and Monza-Brianza he said that some 695 are informal. “How can we educate our children in the values of Islam in this situation?” he asked.

He took turns on the platform with other Muslim leaders to demand respect for believers who are Italian citizens and are “the first victims of the ISIS criminals.” And Idriss Bakari, leader of another Muslim association, denounced “the person proclaiming himself caliph [overall leader of all Muslims – ed.] is a scoundrel and a criminal, and he will never have our support.”

Messages of support and appreciation for the Milan and Rome demonstrations came from president of the republic Sergio Mattarella and speakers of both houses of parliament.

Exponents of right-wing political groupings complained that the turnout was disappointing. Senate vice-president Roberto Calderoli (Lega Nord) stated there was only a couple of hundred demonstrators, and among them were many people “infiltrated” by left-wing parties to swell the numbers. Milan deputy mayor Riccardo De Corato (Fratelli d'Italia) said the participants “should have filled S. Siro stadium and instead there was only a handful.”