Italian minister uneasy with Muslim support for Gaza

Thousands of Muslims prayed before Milan's central train station in one of several Israel protests on Saturday.

Italian minister uneasy with Muslim support for Gaza
Italy's defence minister got uneasy with the support of Muslims for Gazans after thousands held prayers in public squares in Milan over the past week.

Ignazio La Russa, from the far right-wing National Alliance, said he called the public prayers a challenge to peace.

"I say enough of the provocations of Islamists in Milan," La Russa told Il Giornale newspaper on Sunday, who described himself as a practicising Catholic who attends Mass almost every Sunday.

Thousands of Muslims prayed before Milan's central train station in one of several Israel protests on Saturday.

There are about 1 million Muslims in Italy, making up almost two percent of the population.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition, which includes the hardline anti-immigrant Northern League, has clashed with Italy's Muslim community in the past.

It irked Muslims last year with plans to block the construction of new mosques in Italy.

Protests against the Israeli offensive continued in Italy on Sunday, with 3,000 people marching through the centre of Naples. Another 1,000 held hands to form a human chain and march through Rome's historic centre to demand an end to Israeli violence in Gaza.

Israeli ground forces are advancing on Gaza City and facing strong resistance from Palestinian fighters on the 16th day of the assault on the besieged territory.

Medical sources said that 24 Palestinian fighters have been killed in clashes in on Sunday, taking the total number of Palestinian deaths to 879.

Agencies
Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2009, 08:41
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