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Saturday, 26 December 2015

Italian small town accused of being racist for telling Foriegners to respect local culture & heritage

IG/FacebookThe local authority in Pontoglio, Italy approved the new signs warning people to respect traditions
Signs were put up at the entrance to Pontoglio, near Brescia in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, stating those who abide by their “Christian traditions” are welcome.
But the centre-Right council behind the move has come under fire- being labelled racist.
The signs state the town, known in local dialect as Pontoi, is a beacon of “Western culture and deep Christian traditions” and warned: “Those who do not intend to respect local culture and traditions are invited to stay away.”
Of the town's 7,000 inhabitants, 1,160 or 16 per cent are foreign-born and many of them are Muslim.
They include 238 Albanians, 203 Moroccans, 192 Romanians and 150 Indians, many of whom have lived in Pontoglio for years and have families and regular jobs.

Alessandro Seghezzi, the mayor, denied that the placards were “provocative”.
“It is an invitation to respect local culture and traditions,” he said. “Ours is a culture based on mutual respect (for others).”
Paolo Bocchi, a councillor, also denied that the signs were offensive. “There’s nothing racist about them. This is just historical information – this is our tradition,” he said.
The signs have angered some in the townIG/Facebook
The migrant population in Pontoglio has been angered by the new signs
We are looking for neither praise nor criticism – the message is very simple
Councillor Paolo Bocchi
“We are looking for neither praise nor criticism – the message is very simple.”
But Laura Castelletti, the deputy mayor of nearby Brescia, said: “I thought we lived in a secular country where there was no state religion.”
It is not the first controversial step taken by the council. It recently increased the cost for foreign-born residents of obtaining a local identity document from €50 (£36) to €425.
The move was condemned as “discriminatory” by a local tribunal.

Lombardy is the stronghold of the Northern League, the Right-wing party that is gaining support with its stridently anti-immigrant, anti-refugee rhetoric.
That rhetoric has intensified since last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
Last week, Lombardy approved a ban on wearing the Islamic veil and burka in hospitals and local government offices.
Current laws across Italy already prohibit helmets, clothing or any other items that make identification difficult in public places without a justifiable motive.
But the new legislation in Lombardy, which comes into force on January 1, is the first time that an Italian region has explicitly outlawed Islamic head wear.

story source

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