Feelings of anxiety and anticipation dominate some immigrant and Muslim communities in Italy, after the far-right coalition came to power in Italy, wondering if the racist discourses raised by these parties will turn into policies and measures, or just slogans stay for elections. consumption, and will focus their work on economic and political priorities.
The far-right coalition, which includes the Brothers of Italy, the League and Forza Italia parties, achieved historic results in the elections that took place on Sunday, with 44.1 percent of the vote, most of which went to the “Fratelli d’Italia went”. “party led by Giorgia Meloni, who is expected to be the country’s new prime minister.
The vote count showed that Meloni’s party got 26 percent of the vote, the League, led by Matteo Salvini, 9 percent, and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia won the confidence of 8.3 percent of voters.
Some members of the Muslim communities view with great concern the coming to power of the right-wing parties in Italy, given their views, which have been described as “racist and hostile”, and which they have expressed on issues related to Islam, immigration and asylum.
The positions of the extremist alliance
Although the intensity of her statements on these issues eased during the election campaign, the Muslims of Italy remember with concern the words of the candidate for prime minister in front of her supporters in October 2019, in Rome, when she said: “We will fight the Islamization of Europe, because we do not intend to become a Muslim continent.” “.
Meloni added: “If you are offended by the cross, this is not where you should live. The world is big and full of Islamic countries where you will not find a cross, because Christians are persecuted and churches are demolished there. But here we will defend these symbols and we will defend our identity. We will defend God and the homeland. And the family.. Make your decisions,” addresses the Muslim communities in Italy.
Salvini, head of the “Northern League” party, who wants to return to carry the domestic portfolio, for his part has no less harsh views towards the Muslim communities in his country, as he has previously stated that “Islam is not compatible is with European values”, and calls on European Union countries to re-evaluate their immigration policies. , according to Politico.
Figures from the Italian National Statistics Office for the year 2022 show that the number of foreigners in the European country is 5.2 million, including a significant proportion of Muslims, and this number represents 8.3 percent of the total population of the European country, which includes 59. million people.
Italian official data indicates that more than 690,000 migrants have arrived by boat since 2013, most of them Africans, only a few of whom have managed to obtain residence or asylum documents, while large numbers are still undocumented.
The same data indicated that 500,000 people were living illegally in Italy, including rejected asylum seekers and people who overstayed their visas.
During the current year and until the end of last month, 26 thousand people arrived on the island of Lampedusa, as the island forms the gateway for the trans-Mediterranean people to the “European dream”.
With the right-wing coalition coming to power, and with a comfortable majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the fears of migrants and refugees who want to reach Italy seem legitimate, as the number of people is expected to decrease, after the three parties promised during their election campaigns to tighten restrictions on immigration policy in Italy and close the Italian coast to trawlers in the Mediterranean.
A report by the British newspaper “The Times” previously considered that the victory of the hard-line “Brothers of Italy” party “would constitute a nightmare for migrants who dream of reaching Europe through the Mediterranean.”
As Meloni spoke of “imposing a naval blockade”, Salvini, who is expected to be interior minister, promised to prevent boats carrying migrants from reaching Italy, as he had done before when he was between 2018 and 2019 was in the same position; “I’ve done it before and I can’t wait to do it again,” the head of the League said at a rally in Rome, according to the Times.
Fear and anticipation
The former member of the Italian Parliament and director of the Italian Network for Diplomacy, Khaled Shawky, says that before the election, the Muslim communities lived on the impact of anticipation and fear of the arrival of the extreme right to power in Italy, especially the Georgia Meloni party, which has long called for stricter policies in the reception of refugees and immigrants as general.
In a statement to Al-Hurra website, Shawky said that there are doubts in the Muslim communities and minorities in Italy about whether the populist and discriminatory slogans raised by the extreme right will turn into new laws that address racial discrimination and disrespect for religious rights, as he put it.
The former Italian parliamentarian continues that immigrants and Muslims in Italy expect what the coming days will bring, because only they can reveal the extent of the ruling extreme right’s tendency to implement its speeches on the ground, pointing out that this case also remain dependent on the ministers that Meloni will choose in the next government.
He explains in this context that the names that will be chosen in the formation of the government will reveal its future directions, on whether it will focus on its populist rhetoric or on other priorities related to the economic crisis, relations with the European Union and the Russian war on Ukraine.