Restrictions on Muslims’ worship in Italy

REPEATEDLY we hear claims by western leaders of not being at war with Islam yet on the ground the situation is totally opposite as the Muslims are not only being targeted in their respective countries through intervention but those living in the so-called open and free western societies are also exposed to hatred, violence, cynicism and alienation.
The closure of makeshift mosques in Italy on flimsy grounds and mere suspicions that these could serve as a source of radicalisation is another classic example of rising Islamophobia in the western countries. The move prompted hundreds of Muslims in Rome to hold protest demonstrations and offer Friday prayers next to ancient amphitheatre where worshippers knelt on prayer mats and tarpaulin on the pavement meters. They were also holding placards reading “Peace” and “Open the mosques.” The closure of mosques openly speaks of the suspicion and mistrust that the western countries harbour about Islam and Muslims. Though some misguided elements who have nothing to do with Islam and its teachings are to be blamed for this, the western countries must also understand that their cynical approach towards Muslim population would not help address the problem but take their societies towards radicalisation, providing a fertile land to terrorist groups to recruit their peoples and perpetrate terror at will as we saw in recent terrorist attacks in different European cities where local people associated with Daesh went on rampage killing scores of people. Mosques are the places where Muslims gather to offer prayers and shutting them down is not only contrary to any international law but would also hurt the very sentiments of Muslims across the world, thus furthering gulf between the Muslims and the West. The Muslim and western countries must promote dialogue at different levels and develop greater understanding of each other’s culture and religion in order to steer out of current ambience of mistrust. Action must be taken if somebody is involved in preaching radicalisation or violence but locking the doors of worship places amounts to shutting the door to peace and harmony.

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