Palma Campania is a municipality in the Naples region of Campania. Immigrants from Bangladesh — who make up a considerable percentage of the municipal populace — are unhappy that the mayor has refused to give them permission to conduct their Islamic prayer services in the street.
Palma Campania, the “hostage town” of the Bangladeshis
Protests from the Bangladeshi community after the mayor said no to prayers in the public squares. The first citizen: “What racism? I don’t have the power.”
by Francesca Bernasconi
September 25, 2019
Palma Campania is a town in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius, but it closely resembles a city in Bangladesh.
Here, in fact, a massive presence of Bangladeshi foreigners has settled. According to the registry office, of 18,000 residents, there are only 2,000 foreigners, but the unofficial statistics estimate the number to be at least twice as high.
And for some weeks now, the mayor, 34-year-old Nello Donnarumma, has been under attack, blamed for denying the Bangladeshi community the possibility to pray in the squares and the streets. “They have presented me with a sheet of paper with four lines with the name of the street, the day and time — and that’s it,” explained the mayor to Verita. “And then, for reasons of public order, I said no. Racism is not involved, politics is not involved; it is only administrative and technical management.” The Muslim community, in fact, would have liked to meet every Friday to pray in public squares. “ A scenario that cannot be proposed in the present state.” In order to guarantee security, in fact, numerous local police officers would have to be deployed, a force that the municipality does not have.
The mayor declares that he would have to consider a specific service for the event and “leave the rest of the city unattended.” Besides, in Palma Campania, in the case of events not organized by the municipality, they would have to consider private sources to pay security officers.
After the “no”, the Bangladeshi community protested against Donnarumma, asking for a no-confidence, but the first citizen is not giving in. “I have explained clearly to everyone that I will continue to say no if there is no concrete assistance: Men of the forces of order are needed to lift this burden from us of managing this type of ceremony alone.” In the meantime, however, he has requested the convening of a meeting with the other municipal administrations in the area to attempt to discuss the situation.
It is not a question of racism and the mayor points out that he supports the importance of protecting all religions. “But I am responsible for public security in my municipality and I cannot permit that there are situations which are potentially dangerous.” And on Facebook, he confides: “If you try to enforce the laws of the state and guarantee security, you are accused of being a member of the League or a racist.”
[Photo Header Palma Catania: Muslims cannot pray on the street]
[Subtitle: Mayor’s ordinance for reasons of public order. Bangladeshis: “Close to the Lega (League)”]
[Caption under photo: “If you try to enforce the laws of the state and guarantee security, you are accused of being (a member) of the League or, worse yet, a racist.” Integration also involves the adoption of and respect for the norms of the laws of the Italian Republic. And on that, we will continue to be unmoving, with all due respect to the false victimization of those used to the free zones.
Bitterness? Much. Surrender? Never.
In reality, the mayor of Palma Campania specifies to Verita, “there is a ‘problem’ with the Bangladeshi community, and it is of a hygienic-sanitary character. Of an official population of 2,000 residents, 90% is composed of men who live in disastrous conditions,” he says and specifies that in some residences of less than 50 square meters, 15 to 20 persons live.