Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Berlusconi: Milan will be 'full of Muslims and Gypsies' if Left takes power

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi may have outdone even himself with his latest inflammatory comments. Rallying supporters in Milan ahead of local elections later this month, he warned people that if the centre-Left candidate for mayor wins, the city will be handed over to Muslims and Gypsies. According to Italian news agency AKI he told the Milanese,
"Milan can't become, on the eve of the Expo 2015, an Islamic city, a city of Gypsies, full of Roma camps and swamped by foreigners, a city that gives voting rights to immigrants in municipal elections."
The comments, which were not an off-the-cuff remark but rather part of a prepared speech that was also posted on the website of Berlusconi's conservative People of Freedom party, were met with open-mouthed disbelief by the leader of Italy's largest centre-left opposition Democratic Party. "Your words are laughable..you're going to need to wear a burqa to avoid people recognising you in the street," he told the Italian leader.

The extremist rhetoric sounded more like something that would come out of the mouth of one of Europe's most notorious far right leaders like Jean-Marie Le Pen or Nick Griffin rather than a supposedly centre-right leader of the EU's fourth largest country. The level of desperation Berlusconi is now feeling is evident. His majority in the Italian parliament hangs by a thread following a series of sex and corruption scandals. This month's local elections taking place in Italian cities including Milan and Naples are seen as a key test for his survival. But in last week's first round of voting the centre-left's candidate for mayor of Milan, former Communist Giuliano Pisapia, came in well above the incumbent conservative mayor Letizia Moratti. The Northern business capital has been a conservative stronghold for 20 years.

The controversy to which Berlusconi was referring was whether Milan should allow a mosque to be built in the city. The city's Muslim community requested to build the mosque, saying they now have to hold prayers in makeshift vanues like garages and a disused cycle stadium, according to AKI. Moratti opposes allowing the mosque to be built, saying it would create, "a centre of attraction for Islamic groups from all over Italy who then would not be controllable." But Pisapia says the city's Muslim community should be allowed to have a proper place of worship.

It's unclear why Berlusconi introduced gypsies (Roma) into the equation. There is no issue concerning Roma which is part of the campaign, since both candidates are in favour of dismantling illegal Roma camps on the outskirts of the city. In fact Pisapia has blamed Moratti for being negligent in allowing the camps to be built, according to AKI. Perhaps Berlusconi felt he could get the most leverage by throwing in as many minorities as possible into his diatribe. It's truly a shocking sign of desperation from a centre-right leader. But it is reflective of the dark times Europe is creeping toward today.


Anonymous said...

Berlusconi in nome di dio, per favor, per la il cielo, per la madonna, vattene...vai alle tue amanti e lascia la political alla la gente per bene..gente non razista, pateriota, civile: da destra , da sinistra, christiani, musulmani, morrochini... non ti preoccupare..noi sinaltro ci la faremo, pero tu cocco mio perche not vai a farti in cu.....Grazie.
Dalla jordania con amore....babaziad

Laura said...

"it is reflective of the dark times Europe is creeping toward today. " ... I sadly agree