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Muslim Brotherhood in Italy (2)

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Today, we have reported that the trial of three members of Saman Abbas’ family in Italy has begun for the so-called “honor-killing” of Saman, who had refused an arranged marriage in Pakistan and who wanted to live a Western lifestyle. It has also been reported that an organization called the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy (Ucoii) is participating as a civil party in the case. This is a feature of many European courts in which family members of victims and other persons affected can participate in the trial in terms of civil penalties.

In the case of Ucoii, when the Saman case became headlines in 2021, this organization, which claims to be the largest Islamic organization representing Muslims in Italy, issued a fatwa banning arranged marriages, which they claim are a feature of tribal societies in different parts of the world and are not mandated by Islam.

According to several sources, Ucoii is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and receives major support from Qatar. Here is what the Vienna-based MENA Studies Center has to say about Ucoii.

MENA is not the only source that links Ucoii to the Muslim Brotherhood. One of Italy’s most prominent Muslim religious leaders, Dr Abdellah Redouane, of the Great Mosque in Rome, has publicly accused Ucoii of links to the Brotherhood. The below article by Giovanni Giacalone of the Machiavelli Center in  Florence, a conservative Italian think tank, is translated by Fousesquawk.

This is the latest in our series of translations from European articles concerning the MB in Europe and the 2nd such article on Italy.

Internal fight within Italian Islam

by Giovanni Giacalone

Last June 12, the Secretary General of the Great Mosque of Rome/Islamic Cultural Center of Italy, Dr. Abdellah Redouane, posted on the organization’s Facebook page a long statement in which, without mixing words, he addressed Ucoii (Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy) accusing it of disseminating lies and being tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. The title is more than eloquent: Manifesto of Truth to Refute the Slander Being Circulated and Defeat Falsehood with Truth.

A bad blow for Ucoii, not only in terms of what is expressed in the text, but also for the fact that the accusations come from institutional Islam; the Great Mosque of Rome is, in fact, the only one officially recognized by virtue of the Decree of the President of the Republic number 712/1974, 16 years prior to the birth of Ucoii itself, as exposed by the same Dr Redouane when he contradicted the claims by Ucoii of being officially recognized by the Italian State, asking (them) for proof and the date of the recognition decree.

Then Redouane took up a post from the president of Ucoii, Yassine Lafram, complete with photos together with (Prime Minister) Giuseppe Conte and Interior Minister Luciana Lamorghese, in which he indicates a meeting to ratify a protocol with the Italian State to regulate the procedures to follow in the reopening of Islamic centers in the post-lockdown phase of Covid-19. Also in this case, Redouane refutes Ucoii, pointing out that it was he himself who was the first signatory of the aforementioned protocol and adding, ” The president of Ucoii has the possibility of posting the photo of a group of 4 Muslim signatories? It remains to be clarified the motive for which Conte and Lamorghese decided to meet individually with representatives of Ucoii.

Another point of extreme interest is that tied to the representation of Ucoii, which on several occasions has claimed to be the principal organized Islamic entity in Italy, but is it really? It doesn’t appear appropriate judging by the data from Dr. Redouane, according to which the actual Ucoii representation within the varied Islamic communities in Italy varies between 5-10%. Ucoii reportedly claimed to the Ministry of Interior (to have) 160 “communities” under its own umbrella; considering that in Italy, there are more than 1,000 Islamic centers, the numbers speak clearly.

After some further refutations as to the burials of the deceased and prison interventions, Redouane indicates that the founder of Ucoii (and honorary president), the Syrian doctor Mohammed Nour Dachan as being “the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Italy,” and accuses Ucoii of “attacking other Islamic components who are guilty of nothing other than that of wanting to get out from being under the domination of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Dr Redouane thus, breaks the great taboo, given that Ucoii has always denied, even in lawsuits, being tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamist organization banned in several countries. This time, however, the accusations are not coming just from inside the Italian Islamic entity, but from institutional Islam and institutionally recognized. Perhaps, in Rome, (and not only) they would do well to carefully evaluate their own interlocutors.

Giovanni Giacalone

Researcher, Machiavelli Center for Studies in Policies and Strategies. Graduated in  sociology, University of Bologna, Master in “Islamic Studies” (Trinity Saint David University of Wales), specialization in “Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism” (International Counter-Terrorism Institute of Herzliya, Israel).Senior analyst for the British Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism-ITCT, Italian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues and Managing Emergencies (Catholic University of Milan) and the Kedisa-Center for International Strategic Analysis. Professor in the field of security for security managers, law enforcement, and post-graduate courses, was the coordinator for Italy for the European project Globsec “From criminals to terrorists and back” ed è co-founder of Sec-Ter- Security and Terrorism Observation and Analysis Group.


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