Vatican accused of helping Islamic radicals

The Vatican has disconcerted Italian politicians – and some of the Roman Catholic church’s most senior prelates – by endorsing a proposal by radical Muslims for a weekly “Islamic hour” in schools with a strong Muslim presence. “If in a school there are 100 Muslim children, I don’t see why their religion shouldn’t be taught,” said Cardinal Renato Martino, a minister in the Vatican’s government, the Roman Curia.

The speaker of the Italian senate, Marcello Pera, who has launched a movement for the defence of Europe’s Christian values, said the suggestion was “the diametric opposite of any kind of attempt at integration”. In a note posted on the internet, he said it “tended, on the contrary, t11o reinforce the idea of an autonomous Muslim community inside the Italian state”.

Guardian, 11 March 2006