Italy: Muslims Demand Islamic University
Hamza (formerly Roberto) Piccardo, convert to Islam, translator of the Koran into Italian and leader of UCOII (Union of Islamic Organisations and Committees in Italy), recently delivered this end-of-Ramadan sermon on a beach in Imperia, Liguria.
In his sermon in front of 300 Muslims, the majority North African - the Turks having gathered elsewhere - assembled on the beach, Hamza Piccardo declared that "the places of worship were not adequate for the requirements of our community", which, in Imperia, "is growing continuously". The construction of mosques, he complained, is hampered "by a public opinion which has been intoxicated for too long by the virus of islamophobia, a disease that is filled with lies, which has prospered on the fear which we are struggling to fight against". But "today, thanks to the economic intervention of certain foundations in the Gulf [in Qatar, the newspaper specifies], it is possible to acquire land". Hamza/Roberto thus called for his flock to "initiate the search for an appropriate place".
Hamza concluded "by floating an idea that might interest Imperia, the creation of an Islamic University: "A million and a half Muslims live in Italy and don't even have an Islamic University available to them, not even a higher education college to prepare our imams and the leaders of our communities: it is a gap that must be filled."