By: V4 Agency
In Milan, where iIllegal mosques are springing up by the dozen, hundreds tend to gather in defiance of pandemic-related restrictions.
“Even before the outbreak of the epidemic, the illegal mosques in Milan have posed a problem that the administration led by [Mayor] Beppe Sala failed to take seriously,” Silvia Sardone, an MEP of the right-wing Lega party said.
Barely a week ago, an illegal mosque was closed on Via Lopez in Milan’s western outskirts after Silvia Sardone reported on larger gatherings around the building. As many have signaled, this was not an isolated incident and, a few days later, the same situation was reported from another neighbourhood located arund the city’s outer perimeters.
Authorities already had a number of issues with the illegal mosque on Via Cavalcanti, because its imam was promoting extremist views and ideologies. As a result, they closed down the mosque once in the past, a move that’s triggered protests by irregular migrants, while the rest of the city kept funcitoning under a full lockdown.
“The situation of illegal mosques in Milan is one of the most important problems to address today. Although Milan is in the red zone, the illegal mosque on Via Cavalcanti opened several times this week, and the shop housing the mosque was probably fully packed at the time of prayers,” MEP Silvia Sardone and Samuele Piscina, president of Lega’s group in Milan, commented on the incident.
Their accounts also feature some photos, showing a large number of people trying to enter the illegal mosque in broad daylight. Milan is in the red zone in terms of coronavirus defence, which means that all gatherings, especially indoors, are forbidden in order to slow down the spread of the virus, which has recently produced a record number of infections in the city.
“More than 300 people gathered on Thursday and Friday, despite police presence at the scene. It is a long-running case: the court has issued several verdicts to forbid any useage of the shop’s floor space as a mosque, but police cannot enforce the decision,” Ms Sardone said.
“It is the duty of the municipality to rent out the business premises in question, so the owners of the block of flats have sued City Hall for failing to meet its obligations. Italians are fined in the red zone, while hundreds of people can gather illegally in an enclosed space,” Silvia Sardone said. Simone Piscina stressed that there is no proper action against people who frequently visit these illegal mosques.
“This is an area in Milan where the law exists, but it does not apply to everyone. It would City Hall’s duty to make everyone adhere to the rules. Today, Milan is not operating properly and we want to change that,”Luca Lepore, the Lega party’s Milan councillor has said.