Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018
VENICE

Letta moots Islamic Museum on Venice Grand Canal

English
© ANSA

(By Stefania Fumo)
Venice, February 3 - Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni
wants to put his city on the map as a site of internationally
weighty institutions, and a possible Islamic Museum plus study
center is one of them.
On Monday, the mayor thanked Premier Enrico Letta for
considering such a museum for the iconic city's Grand Canal,
which in Orsoni's view would dovetail nicely with an existing
Museum of Oriental Arts, a Council of Europe office in St.
Mark's Square that often hosts Aspen Institute meetings, and a
planned Orthodox Church study center, which would rise in the
Mestre district on mainland Venice.
The Italian premier said during a trip to Doha, that his
government ''made a commitment to explore the opportunity to
build an Islamic museum in Venice on the Grand Canal''.
Letta is in the Persian Gulf state on a mission to drum up
investment to help to pull the Italian economy after its longest
postwar recession.
Orsoni said the concept fits in with Venice's municipal
goal of continuing to bring ''great cultural institutions of
international breadth to Venice''.
The city offered ''a special thanks to ... Letta for his
interest in the creation of an Islamic museum of great
international scope in Venice, a sign of the history of this
city and its openness to dialogue between cultures and
religions'', added Orsoni.
The project was slammed Monday by the regionalist,
anti-immigrant Northern League, which suggested Letta should
focus on the economy and not cultural institutions.
Massimo Bitonci, Senate whip for the League, accused Letta
of working to spread Islam in Italy.
''We do not want any Islamic museum in Venice'', Bitonci
said.
''Letta would do better to focus on the economic crisis
instead of thinking (of ways) to spread Islam'', he added.
He suggested Letta was attempting to distract attention
from a major industrial problem involving electrical-appliance
multinational Electrolux, which last week announced a shock
wage-cut plan it said was necessary to keep its Italian plants
running.
That opinion was buttressed by Lorenzo Fontana, a League
Member of the European Parliament, who threatened to put a
spanner in the works of such a project.
''We will stay day and night in front of the building site
and obstruct the work,'' said Fontana.
''The League will never allow such a mess, the Veneto
(region) wants independence, not Islamic museums,'' he said,
adding that such projects threaten to undermine the foundations
of Italian society.
''I can't believe he is even remotely thinking of putting
money into yet another useless museum when our entire cultural
heritage, and Venice itself, are at risk'', thundered Veneto
Governor Luca Zaia, another Northern League member.

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