Britain and Australia are not the only countries where debate is raging over the Islamic veil. In Italy, the issue burst into the news this week after the interior ministry ordered round-the-clock police protection for an MP, believing she had been threatened for expressing her views on the subject.
Daniela Santanche, an MP for the formerly neo-fascist National Alliance, clashed in a TV chat show with the imam of a mosque near Milan. After Ms Santanche insisted that the Qur’an did not call for women to wear a veil, the other guest, Ali Abu Shwaima, angrily replied: “I am an imam and I will not permit those who are ignorant to speak of Islam. You are ignorant of Islam and do not have the right to interpret the Qur’an.”
The ministry said it had been advised that the words used by the imam might amount to a coded death sentence – which the imam has vigorously denied.
At all events, his admonition has done nothing to silence Ms Santanche. A few days later she returned to the attack, comparing the veil to the yellow Star of David the Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis.
Now where could the Italian “post-fascist” possibly have got that bizarre comparison from? Well, probably from Maryam Namazie of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran, who has described the veil as “comparable to the Star of David pinned on Jews by the Nazis to segregate, control, repress and to commit genocide”.