A “fatwa” against arranged marriages and female genital mutilation. The Union of Islamic Communities of Italy thus reacts to the dramatic case of Novellara (Reggio Emilia), where for almost a month there has been no news of the very young Pakistani Saman Abbas, on whose fate there is unfortunately little hope.
The eighteen-year-old disappeared from the family home after refusing – even with a complaint to social services – the wedding her “clan” had arranged for her with a cousin in Pakistan. The search for the girl continues unabated and while the Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into the murder and concealment of the body, the suspects – all relatives – are already six.
The case of poor Saman is not the first of its kind in our country. The best known precedents are those of two other young people of Pakistani origin who lived in the Brescia area: Hina Salem, killed by her family for refusing patriarchal impositions and Sana Cheema, punished with death for her intention to live “in the West”, free from the pseudo-religious conditioning of the “clan” who wanted her to be married to a relative. But other similar events have been denounced or discovered, and all referred to family contexts with strict ethics or pseudo-religious logic, of Islamic origin.
Thus, to give a signal (to Muslims and non-Muslims) and to publicly distance themselves from certain tribal practices grafted onto a very widespread fundamentalist subculture also in Europe – and as has also been seen in Italy – the UCOII has released this press release , announcing the intention to issue a sort of juridical-religious verdict, in concert with the Islamic Association of Imams and Religious Guides. “Fortunately – says Ucoii – these are episodes that do not have, as far as we know, an important extension and frequency, but we know that within some ethnic communities situations and behaviors that violate people’s rights still persist”. The UCOII affirms that it “strongly rejects this type of conception of the female condition and of the life of people in general: these are behaviors that cannot find any religious justification, therefore absolutely to be condemned, and even more so to be prevented”. So “to strengthen awareness and increase prevention” he announces that he will issue “a fatwa against forced arranged marriages and the equally tribal custom of female infibulation” and at the same time rejects “any political speculation of this sad affair that aims to tarnish the entire Italian Islamic community “.
Apparently, UCOII’s decision is a step in the right direction, but the chosen tool is controversial. A “fatwa”, in fact, seems to open the doors to a sort of special order that applies to the Muslim faithful, confusing the civil and religious plan, in which, moreover, there is no single authority: the UCOII is only one of the existing acronyms, and does not even seem to be majority, although it is very visible. “In Italy, Muslims must follow the legal system – comments Yahya Pallavicini, leader of Coreis and imam of the small mosque in via Meda in Milan – not to exploit news and tribal facts to build a parallel”. “The news of the issue of a fatwa by the UCOII is nothing short of shocking – comments also Souad Sbai, former PDL parliamentarian and president of the Averroè Study Center – In 2021, in Italy, the cradle of civilization and law, an act such is inadmissible. “