Italy’s far-right Northern League has come up with some provocative ways to protest against the construction of mosques. One of its members, Senator Roberto Calderoli, has called for a “Pig Day” to demonstrate against a planned mosque in Bologna. In December 2006, protesters left a severed pig’s head outside a mosque being built in Tuscany. Their latest idea was to parade a pig around the site of a planned mosque in Padua last weekend to “desecrate” the property.
Italy’s Sky TV has the video here. It’s in Italian but you’ll get the point.
The woman leading the protesters is former deputy Education Minister Mariella Mazzetto, a Northern League member. She told the journalist: “We have blessed the ground that the city of Padua wants to transfer for the mosque … It is a question of defending Italian identity.” Muslims and non-Muslims joined in denouncing the protest.
The rest of the video deals with a case that could be seen as the opposite of the Northern League’s approach. A priest in Treviso has been allowing local Muslims to use his parish hall for Friday prayers for three years. “For me, they are all children of God,” Father Aldo Danieli told Corriere della Sera. But his bishop told him on Saturday he would have to stop the practice, since Church law said Catholic places of worship could not be used by other religions.
This probably won’t be the last time that the Northern League uses pigs to try to provoke Muslims. How should they react?