Update May 26th: Islam in Action blog reports that Italy is getting serious and has just razed a mosque.
In the last few days we brought you articles about the growing anger against immigrants in such disparate countries as Switzerland and South Africa and now here is one about Italy. I’m going to say more about this later, but if you are wondering why this has anything to do with refugee resettlement, this is why: to the average person fed up with feeling besieged by immigrants they make no distinction in their minds about whether someone is legal or not when they see obvious foreigners helping themselves to welfare and jobs. Or, when they hear about crimes committed by immigrants.
But, back to the LA Times and Italy. I’ve copied a large section of this article because I couldn’t seem to find a good place to quit, it was so interesting. Note that the reporter gets in a couple of hits at Bossi’s “shooting at boats” statement. I’m wondering if the reporter ever read Jean Raspail’s “Camp of Saints?”
Umberto Bossi, who once suggested shooting at boats carrying immigrants, is a key force in the right’s return to power. Measures against foreigners and violence toward Gypsies has followed.
The head of a small xenophobic political party, Bossi has emerged as Italy’s kingmaker, the power player who was key in returning Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to office in recent elections and who will continue to call many of the shots.
That victory last month, which included the election of Rome’s first right-wing mayor since World War II and the stiffest rejection ever of communists, was part of a significant shift in favor of the Italian political right, composed of restyled former Fascists, anti-immigrant forces and traditional conservatives.
In this climate, it came as little surprise that the government’s first action has been a harsh police crackdown on the Rom, an oft-targeted minority also known as Gypsies.
Bossi and the Northern League are widely seen here as the moving force behind the decision to target Gypsies and illegal immigrants, two groups blamed for a rash of recent crimes. Hundreds of Rom and foreigners were arrested, scores deported, and ramshackle Gypsy camps razed or burned to the ground by either authorities or vigilantes.
The league, which is based in Lombardy, would add most Romanians and Muslim immigrants to the list, Boni said. Overall, he said, the party advocates reducing immigration to between 5% and 10% of its current level. “That way, you have immigration and integration,” he said. “What you have now is invasion.”
The league and its right-wing partners, including Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, were able to capitalize on Italian fears about and prejudices toward the foreign-born, sentiments that are intensifying as the number of new arrivals grows and the economy plunges into recession. Their electoral victory also reflected a deep-seated admiration among many Italians for the kind of populist demagoguery that Berlusconi and Bossi represent.
“People want this country to remain theirs,” said Bossi, who once advocated shooting at boats bringing immigrants to Italy’s shores.
Then way down in the story there is this bit of information that confirms comments that Italians are worried about immigrant crimes (we heard that in Switzerland and South Africa). The Italian reaction is to burn the immigrants out just as the mobs in South Africa have done recently.
….many of the Rom, by their own account, make a living through petty theft….
The most shocking incidents occurred last week in Naples, where residents, reacting to reports that a Gypsy woman had attempted to kidnap an Italian child, torched several camps, forcing hundreds of men, women and children to flee. Many were later loaded in the back of trucks and taken to safety, in scenes that United Nations officials compared to “ethnic cleansing” in the Balkans in the 1990s — the very events that drove some of these Rom to Italy in the first place.
LA Times and the rest of you pro-open borders/pro-multiculturalism uber alles advocates, keep calling it xenophobia and make yourselves feel better to label opponents as racist xenophobes, but do it at your own peril.