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Italian court throws out 'anti-mosque' law

February 24, 2016

Italy's top court ruled against a law that would tighten restrictions on religious architecture. The statute was seen as an attempt by anti-immigrant politicians to ban the construction of mosques.

Main mosque in Rome
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Tarantino

The country's highest court threw out a regional law on Wednesday that had been criticized as an "anti-mosque" measure.

The law, which had been drawn up by the anti-immigrant Northern League party and passed in the beginning of 2015, tightened rules on religious architecture in the wealthy region of Lombardy, stipulating that places of worship had to conform to the "architecture of the Lombard landscape."

In addition, the law specified that the religious affiliation of the building had to be officially recognized by the state - which Islam is not.

Criticism of Italian court

Following the court's nullification of the law, members of the Northern League took to Twitter to express their anger.

"The State Council has rejected our law regulating the construction of new mosques," Lombardy President Roberto Maroni said. "The left cheers: Allah Akbar."

"Congratulations to the Islamic Court," tweeted Lega Nord leader Matteo Salvini.

According to the AFP news agency, there are only six official mosques in all of Italy, with most Muslims praying in small, make-shift areas that have been dubbed by the media as "garage mosques."

blc/sms (KNA, AFP)