Members of Rome’s Muslim Bangladeshi community have launched a fundraiser to create a new Muslim-only cemetery in Rome, with claims they refuse to be buried next to Catholics.
The fundraiser was created by the Dhuumcatu Association whose president, a man named Bachcu, said: “A cemetery managed by the Islamic faithful is necessary because there are differences between the Catholic and Islamic rites. We can not be buried in clothes and our body must be placed in a north-south direction.”
“It already happens in Great Britain and in France,” another member of the association said, adding: “At the same time, though, if I have to be buried here, I would like to be buried like a true Muslim.”
The entire project is estimated to cost at least six to seven million euros as the group are looking to build a cemetery that will be able to hold between 30,000 to 40,000 burials, Il Giornale reports.
The organisation claims that they want to fundraise the money from their own community rather than have the government help them, saying that the city of Rome would only be needed to authorise the project. They added that they should be easily able to raise the amount if only two percent of the community donate the recommended 3,000 euros.
Integration of Muslims into Italian society has been a major issue in the country for years, with the government having to shut down illegal mosques in 2016. The move led to protests from the Muslim community, some of whom threatened to invade the Vatican and pray in St. Peter’s Basilica, instead.
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Some on Italian politicians have embraced the demands of the Muslim community, such as the establishment left-liberal Democratic Party (PD), which even travelled to an Islamic Centre in Milan to show members of the community how to vote for them, with their party’s being the only one presented on the mock ballots.
The PD also back the idea of birthright citizenship, also known as jus soli or ‘right of the soil’, which would confer citizenship on anyone born within Italy’s borders automatically.
At present, the Mediterranean country’s laws are centred largely on the principle of jus sanguinis, or ‘right of blood’, which require a child’s mother or father must be an Italian citizen in order for them to receive automatic citizenship. (Stateless persons born in Italy are one exception.)
A move to jus soli is supported by many Muslim migrants, and the PD’s endorsement of this more straightforward path to citizenship led the Mosque of Segrate in Milan, for example, to advocate its community vote for the party as a result.