Edited time: 29 Sep, 2016 20:11
The new restrictions define the criteria a new religious building should meet to gain a construction permit.
Any such construction must not run counter to the “architectural and dimensional suitability of religious buildings with the general and specific characteristics of the Ligurian landscape,” the paper reported, meaning mosques and minarets may be found “un-Ligurian” and as such don’t belong to the current image of the region.
The law, though not attributed to any particular religion, has been dubbed “anti-mosque” by local media outlets.
Politicians opposed to the legislation, including members of the Five Star Movement (Cinque Stelle) and the Democratic Party (PD), claim the law goes against Italy’s constitution, the Corriere Della Sera newspaper reported.
Marco Scajola, city planning assessor in Liguria, who supports the law, rejected the accusations, saying that “respecting the general characteristics of Liguria’s landscape is a merit, not a fault,” l’Occidentale reported. He added that the plan would introduce “clear rules, without overstepping municipalities and citizens.”
A similar draft law approved in the region of Lombardy in 2015 was rejected by Italy’s Constitutional Court in February. Lombardy’s bill was to target faiths that are not officially recognized in Italy, but the plan was dismissed since it could “obstruct or compromise freedom of religion.”
Regional authorities in Liguria had to pay special attention to the text of their law to avoid the possibility of the same outcome.
The number of mosques in Italy is relatively low, though one in Rome is said to be among the largest in Europe. Muslims living or visiting Italy often pray in makeshift places of worship set up in rented buildings.
Islam is the only major faith in Italy that does not have official status.