Last Updated: December 18, 2023, 12:53 IST
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attends political festival Atreju organised by Brothers of Italy right-wing party, in Rome, Italy, December 16, 2023. (Reuters)
Italian PM Giorgia Meloni made controversial statement on Islam and Europe’s values. Leaders tackle migration, vow cooperation on human trafficking
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has sparked a controversy by stressing what she perceives as a compatibility issue between Islam and Europe. At her right-wing party’s event, the firebrand Italian PM slammed Saudi Arabia’s conservative Sharia law under which apostasy and homosexuality are crimes.
“I believe there is a problem of compatibility between Islamic culture or a certain interpretation of Islamic culture and the rights and values of our civilisation,” she said, according to videos making rounds on the Internet. “It does not escape my mind that most of the Islamic cultural centres in Italy are financed by Saudi Arabia.”
Italian PM Giorgia Meloni: “I believe… there is a problem of compatibility between Islamic culture and the values and rights of our civilization… Will not allow Sharia law to be implemented in italy…. values of our civilization are different! pic.twitter.com/kDYslfQ58W— Megh Updates ™ (@MeghUpdates) December 17, 2023
“Sharia means lapidation for adultery and the death penalty for apostasy and homosexuality. I believe that these should be raised, which does not mean generalising on Islam. It means raising the problem that there is a process of Islamisation in Europe that is very distant from the values of our civilisation,” she said.
These sharp comments come as the leaders of Italy and the UK agreed on Saturday to tackle irregular migration to Europe, pledging to intensify cooperation in the fight against human trafficking. Meloni and Sunak, who held talks in Rome, were also joined by Albanian counterpart Edi Rama, who is seen as a key ally in the efforts to manage migrant arrivals from North Africa to European shores.
Meloni’s office said in a statement after the meeting that the talks with Sunak “focused primarily on the joint work in the field of migration within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in London” in April. The two leaders reportedly agreed to co-fund a first Italian-British project of assisted voluntary repatriations to countries of origin drawn up by the International Organization for Migration for migrants stranded in Tunisia.
Meloni, Sunak and Rama agreed on the need to manage irregular migration “in an increasingly structured manner, further intensifying cooperation between the three countries to fight human trafficking,” the statement said. The talks also touched on other issues, including Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and “the crisis in the Middle East,” it added. In recent months, Sunak has developed a strong partnership with Meloni, and has sought to win support from other European leaders to help crack down on migration, with both Albania and Italy seen as crucial partners.
(With agency inputs)