Valenzi (FCEI): Freedom of worship and integration go together

The Lombardy regional administrative court  recently decided to refer the so called “anti-mosques” Law to the Constitutional court

Foto di Matin Firouzabadi - Unsplash

Rome (NEV), October 12, 2018 – On October 8 last, the Regional administrative court (TAR) of Lombardy raised the question of constitutional legitimacy of the 2005 law ‘for the territory management” and expressed itself over a dispute between the Municipality of Sesto Calende (Varese) and the local Islamic community. The sentence in question concerns a legal battle, that has been going on for years, regarding the request to identify a place of worship for the local Islamic community and the consequent refusal by the town council.

The Constitutional court, already in 2016, declared unconstitutional a large part of the Lombard law, leaving however unspecified the limits to the local administration discretion. Through time in fact other Regions, in particular Liguria and Veneto, took as a model this law always in a restrictive sense, producing limits to the freedom of the faith communities.

Ilaria Valenzi, in charge of the legal department of the Protestant Churches Commission for the Relations with the State (CCERS), declared: “In the presence of a new appeal to the Constitutional Court, we hope that a revision of the general framework of the law will be considered since it concerns, in a larger sense, worship freedom. The town planning legislation is used to affect the faith communities that cause troubles, not only the Islamic ones, but also the protestant churches, the pentecostal ones and the so-called free-churches, where the migrants’ presence is high. This legislation has a clear political mark, made to limit cultural differences and not to recognize them. Religious freedom is one of the fundamental aspects of integration”.

Speaking from a more general point of view, Valenzi stressed that “this situation is determined by the fact that in Italy a framework law on religious freedom doesn’t exist. The Federation of protestant churches in Italy (FCEI) has been committed for years on this issue and has worked on the presentation of a bill to introduce a new vision of religious freedom”.