La Repubblica on refugee reception by parishes and the difficulties faced by Muslims in explaining Islam

Two articles in today’s La Repubblica newspaper caught my eye.

One was an article by Jenner Meletti on the number of parishes across Italy that have responded to Pope Francis’s September call to open their doors to refugees. The answer is: painfully few. The reason may also have to do with legal and bureaucratic constraints – to the best of my knowledge the church is being involved in the primary reception (accoglienza primaria) of people whose immigration status is as yet uncertain – but it nonetheless remains a sad testament to the difficulty of showing concrete solidarity even in the face of such urgent need.

(For the record I have myself enquired about the possibility of hosting refugees in my own home and I have been told that families can only accommodate people once their application for international protection has been processed; offers of accommodation should be made to and are handled by the diocesan Caritas).

The other article was a frank and thought-provoking comment by the writer Mohammed Hanif that first appeared in the New York Times about the difficulties faced by so-called ‘moderate’ Muslims in explaining Islam following atrocities such as the November terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists in Paris. It is a must-read.

2 thoughts on “La Repubblica on refugee reception by parishes and the difficulties faced by Muslims in explaining Islam

  1. Hey Laura. I read the NYT op-ed about Muslims. And it left me wondering – is he saying moderate Muslims can’t be bothered to condemn the atrocities because they are so diverse?

    1. Hey Stefania. I read it more as an expression of frustration at the obligation felt by, or put upon, the Muslim community to ‘explain itself’ every time an atrocity occurs and to condemn the acts, when for the vast majority condemnation is a given. Muslims must surely find themselves caught between a rock and a very hard place at times like this (especially when you consider that numerically they are the principal victims of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism), and I think Hanif is right when he says the ‘pundits’ who appear on TV don’t do much to help. In Italy after the Paris attacks the representative of one Muslim community in Lombardy gave an appalling performance, which was a shame.

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