According to an an Italian media report, the Unione delle ComunitÃ ed organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (UCOII), the largest and most important Islamic organization in Italy associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood, has written a letter to the Italian Interior Minister demanding that official Muslim representation in Italy by determined by “democratic process:
There is no other way “to define Muslim representation” in Italy than to set in motion “a democratic process designed to organize a grassroots vote,” according to Roberto “Hamza” Piccardo, the director of “Islam-on line” and a spokesman for the UCOII, the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy, who committed his opinion to an open letter addressed to Interior Minister Giuliano Amato. The letter goes on: “Power in democracy belongs to the people, who exercise it in the various ways that the law envisages, and representation in democracy is expressed by winning grassroots support.” For its part, “Islam is a headless and non-hierarchical reality in which communities choose their own imams, their leaders (when the powers-that-be do not deprive them of that prerogative): We have no need either of a pope or of infallible teaching,” the letter says, “and quite frankly, we are not at all unhappy with that situation.”
In August 2006, the UCOII was embroiled in a controversy surrounding an advertisement placed by the organization in various Italian newspapers in which they stated that the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza could be compared to the crimes of Nazi-occupation in Italy. At the time, there were calls for the exclusion of UCOII leader Mohamed Nour Dachan from the Council which had been established to advise the government on Islamic issues. A tentative decision was made by the Interior MInister at that time to make membership in the Council contingent on the endorsement of a Charter of Italian Values, a decision which he later rescinded. The UCOII is probably a member of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the EU-level Islamic organization claiming to represent the Muslims of Europe, although it is not known to have been listed as the FIOE contact organization in Italy.
(Source for letter: OSC “Italy: UCOII’s Piccardo Seeks Grassroots Vote To Appoint Muslim Representatives” Unattributed report: “Piccardo: ‘UCOII Must Have More Lebensraum'” Il Giornale Tuesday, September 18, 2007 T08:31:41Z