Monday, November 28, 2011
Italy: Islam denied income tax revenue
Rome, (AKI) - Mosques in Italy will not receive a share of income tax revenue the Italian government allocates to religious faiths each year. Hindu and Buddhist temples, Greek Orthodox churches and Jehovah's Witnesses will be eligible for the funds, according to a bill approved by the Italian cabinet in May and still must be approved by parliament.
Until now, the government had earmarked 8 percent of income tax revenue for Italy's established churches. The great majority of these funds go to the Catholic Church, although if they wish, individual tax payers may elect to give the money to charities and cultural projects instead.
The head of COREIS, one of Italy's largest Muslim groups, Yahya Pallavicini, said he was bitter that Islam had been denied the revenue from Italian income tax. "Work should be begun on legally recognising those moderate Muslims who have for years shown themselves to be reliable interlocutors who are free of and fundamentalist ideology," he said.
Islam is not an established religion in Italy and there is only one official mosque in the country, Rome's Grand Mosque (photo). Politicians from the ruling coalition cite radical imams, polygamy and failure to uphold women's rights by Muslims immigrants as obstacles to recognising Islam as an official religion in Italy.
Until now, only the Catholic Church, Judaism and other established churches including Lutherans, Evangelists, Waldensians and 7th-day Adventists have received the income tax revenue from the Itallain government.
There are between one million and 1.5 million Muslims in Italy and 130 mosques linked the Muslim umbrella organisation UCOII across the country.