Milan Muslim school row escalates

Members of the Northern League – a key party in Italy’s ruling coalition – are threatening to protest outside a controversial Muslim school in Milan.

The row over the school – closed down by the authorities – is testing Italian attitudes to Muslim immigrants. Parents of the 500 children who attended the school are continuing to demonstrate outside.

Tensions were heightened by the death of a boy, killed by a car as he crossed the road outside the school this week. The Northern League – a regionally-based party that is vitriolic in its criticism of immigrants, especially Muslims – has scuppered a planned prayer meeting for the boy.

It plans to demonstrate against any compromise which gives ground to the parents, who want help to set up a school where their children can learn Arabic and the Koran alongside the normal state curriculum.

The school’s supporters are unfazed – although they say they will keep a low profile if the League protest does materialise.

BBC News, 23 September 2005