AMI (Italian Muslim Association) represents Italian converts to Islam.
In 2005, an Islamic Anti-Defamation League was created in Italy by a diverse representative group consisting of intellectuals, workers, parents, professionals, students – most of them Italian citizens or had lived in Italy for years, and all of the Muslim. The Anti-Defamation League was created with the goal to deal with the spreading phenomenon of anti-Islamism, to gather, analyze, and spread information about the propagation of propaganda, hatred, and racism concerning Muslims, and point out and fight against the main perpetrators of Islamophobia, be they organizations or individuals.
The immediate objective is to stop the defamation immediately, ideally through the use of sense and consciences, and if necessary, appealing to the law. Free legal assistance with access to 53 lawyers located all over the country is available when needed or called upon. The primary objective of the Islamic Anti-Defamation League is to guarantee justice and equal treatment for all people living in Italy, including minorities (1)(Emphasis added)
The presence of Catholic symbols, largely crucifixes in courtrooms, schools, hospitals, and other public buildings has drawn criticism and complaint in a number of court cases and lawsuits.
Under the Italian legal system, it is a legal requirement that schools provide Catholic religious education from an early age, though parents may opt their children out of this curriculum. The alternative to the Catholic education class is a non-religious alternativa class, in which material such as mythology legends, and human rights are discussed – but a minority of parents opt for the alternativa curriculum.
While Italy is an officially secular nation, the crucifix is found in most classrooms. While not meant to be an overtly religious symbol, its representation is also fundamental feature of Italian culture. An uproar arose in 2003 in the central Italian city of L’Aquila, in which a law court ordered a crucifix to be removed from a school in Ofena. The order came after Adel Smith, then president of the Union of Muslims of Italy, launched a complaint about the Catholic symbol in his son’s school. Mr. Smith had initially requested that a Quran be placed next to the crucifixes; however, his request was denied, launching a formal complaint about the presence of the crucifix.The order declared that a non-Catholic citizen could legitimately ask for the symbol to be removed from a school that was attended by their child. No law or norm proposed the presence of Catholic symbols in public schools, as Catholicism is no longer a state religion of Italy. However, an old 1920′s law requiring crucifixes in all public buildings contradicts the L’Aquila ruling, though the law had not always been enforced or followed. On February 15, 1006, Italy’s highest administrative court upheld this law and found that crucifies should be present in all classrooms, thereby overturning the L’Aquila ruling. In 2006, Adel Smith was charged with defaming the Catholic religion. He was sentenced to eight months in prison for throwing a crucifix out of a hospital window after authorities refused to remove it from his mother’s hospital room.(1)