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.
Obviously, we are not Italy, and the US framers ruled out any federally established churches in 1787, but the Italian government’s decision is interesting because it demonstrates that some countries within Christendom do recognize that the differences between the culture of Islam and our own are gravely important and Islamic intransigence and pretensions to supremacy inevitably lead to conflict.
Islam is not just another, alternative mode of religious expression like Zen Buddhism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Church of Latter Day Saints. Muslims cannot be assumed to be willing to attend their own services, raise their children in their faith, hold the occasional fund-raising bazaar or annual parade and be content.
Muslims typically attempt to prevent, even to punish, criticism or mockery of Islam. Muslims refuse to recognize the equality of other religious faiths or of unfaith. Muslims commonly decline to assimilate. And Muslims reject fundamentally the principle of separation of church and state.
As long as Islam aspires to replace our culture and politics with its own; as long as Islam refuses to criticize itself, reform, or accommodate itself to modern pluralist societies; as long as Islam is both a religion and a political adversary of the West; Islam is not entitled to claim the immunities and privileges associated with being just another religion.