Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Italy is rightly incensed




Via Winds of Jihad:

ROME, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Italy's defence minister warned the country's Muslims to stop further "provocations" after thousands held prayers in public squares in Milan during pro-Palestinian demonstrations over the past week.

Ignazio La Russa, from the right-wing National Alliance, said he did not oppose protests or want to deny anyone the right to pray, but called the public prayers a challenge to peace.

"I say enough of the provocations of Islamists in Milan," he told Il Giornale newspaper on Sunday. "In Milan, a legitimate demonstration ended in a deliberately provocative mosque under the open sky."

Thousands of Muslims knelt with their heads bowed to the ground in prayer before Milan's central train station in one of several pro-Palestinian protests on Saturday.

A week ago, Muslims held prayers in front of Milan's central cathedral, angering right-wing politicians in the overwhelming Catholic country who called it an affront to Christianity.
Muslim leaders later apologised, saying no offence was intended. There are about 1 million Muslims in Italy, making up almost two percent of the population.

"What would have happened if a group of Christians gathered together to pray with a rosary before Mecca? They probably would have been stoned," said La Russa, who described himself as a practicising Catholic who attends Mass almost every Sunday.

Milan's deputy mayor issued a similar warning to Muslims, saying four protests in seven days was too much.

"Enough with pro-Hamas marches now," said Riccardo De Corato. "Milan is not a province of Gaza and has no intention of reluctantly instituting this type of 'Gaza Saturdays.'"

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition, which includes the hardline anti-immigrant Northern League, has clashed with Italy's Muslim community in the past.

It irked Muslims last year with plans to block the construction of new mosques in Italy.

Protests against the Israeli offensive continued in Italy on Sunday, with 3,000 people marching through the centre of Naples. Another 1,000 held hands to form a human chain and march through Rome's historic centre to demand an end to violence in Gaza.

Moreover, the same Cardinal Renato Martino who was so subservient and in a state of dhimmitude vis-a-vis Hamas, now is expressing horror at the activities of Islamo-fascist extremists in Italy:

The Vatican has expressed alarm over the burning of Israeli flags by Muslims protesting against Israeli actions in Gaza during Muslim prayers staged outside Italian cathedrals.

Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace, said he was not disturbed "by prayer as such." If Muslims wished to come to St Peter's to pray, he would not object, the cardinal said. "Prayer always does good".

However prayers held recently outside the Duomo in Milan and the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, with thousands of prostrate Muslims facing Mecca, had been accompanied by flag burning which was not only anti Israeli but anti Semitic, with protesters carrying banners depicting the Star of David alongside the Nazi swastika. "What matters is the spirit in which one prays - and prayer excludes hate" Cardinal Martino said.

Read entire article here.

Lastly, a voice in the wilderness. Joseph Wood @ The Catholic Thing conveys a Catholic, pro-Israeli viewpoint regarding the present conflagration with the Hamas terrorists:

Well, 2009 is off to an all-too-familiar start for Israel. After months of a cease-fire that proved to be merely the latest stage in Hamas’ efforts to destroy Israel, Israel is conducting a difficult campaign to secure its south from Hamas rocket attacks and to reduce not just Hamas’ “military” (read terrorist) capacity but its political legitimacy. Crucially, the war should not deflect potential improvements in the wary relations between Israel and a state with no military potential but great moral force, the Holy See.

Sandro Magister, the Vatican correspondent for Italy’s L’Espresso, has described the long-standing imbalance in the Holy See’s public reaction to Israel’s actions, noting an ambivalence to Israel itself that still obtains in some Church circles. Little was said by the Vatican over the last few months about Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel.

Little is said about Israeli efforts to minimize civilian casualties in an extraordinarily difficult environment, where Hamas leaders see the deaths of their own people as a useful communications tool in the battle for international opinion (and as a former military officer who flew the same fighters as the Israeli Air Force, I can assure readers this is nothing like an unrestricted campaign against civilian targets as some have charged). Little is said about the fact that the brutally self-installed Hamas rules in a Gaza evacuated by Israelis at considerable domestic political cost.

Why is there distrust between two states that should, in the grand sweep of history and culture, by this stage be strong allies against common threats and in promotion of shared principles? To begin with, it is important to note that Israel enjoys broad support within the Holy See, including from many in key “policy” positions.

But some in the Curia - again, far from all - swim in their native political currents, the European left. That left has long disliked Israel, has disingenuously associated itself with Palestinian victimhood, and is comfortable in the company of Islamism and even terrorism for the “correct” cause (something even those most antithetic towards Israel in the Curia would roundly reject).

One example of this leftist tendency came last week from Renato Cardinal Martino, president of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace. He first compared the situation in Gaza to a “concentration camp,” a code that doesn’t take much effort to break. Then, trying to dig himself out, he compared the conflict to a dispute between siblings who must be separated. This trivializes the enormous stakes in the war and typifies the leftist tendency to posit a moral equivalence (at best) between terrorists and those who fight them. It substitutes knee-jerk reaction for serious moral reflection.

Read entire article here.

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