The Italian News Agency is reporting on the controversy surrounding the decision of the Italian Ministry of Equal Opportunity to invite the largest Muslim Brotherhood organization in Italy into a work group charged with drawing up a protocol on violence towards women. The decision to include the l’Unione della comunitÃ e delle organizzazioni islamiche in Italia (UCOII) was opposed by female parliamentarians, one of whom called it “absurd” to include a group with a “fundamentalist stamp” while another asserted that in many mosques, Koranic support for striking women is expounded and that some in the UCOII have supported the right to import women into the country for purposes of polygamy. On the other hand, the decision was defended by a Ministry official who said that the UCOII controlled 85% of the Italian mosques and that therefore the organization was a “necessary interlocutor.” An Italian convert who heads the Muslim World League (MWL) in Italy, the Saudi-based group supporting Wahabbism around the world, called the UCOII “the expression of the international movement of the Muslim Brothers” and stating that the existence of the group was a reality in Italy. Issedin Elzir, an imam of Florence and spokesmen for the UCOII defended the organization stating:
Unfortunately violence against women exists not only on the part of Muslim men but also from those of other faiths or without any faith. But that is condemned in Islam and we in the UCOII hold many sermons on the rights and mutual respect of women in Islam.
On the question of polygamy, Elzir added that is is an option but not an obligation of Islam and that the UCOII respected and had no desire to change Italian law.
(Note: quotation machine translated and further edited)
(Sources: Reports of the ANSA Notiziario Generale in Italiano September 28, 2007 Friday 4:07- 8:31 PM SECTION: Cronica)