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Backlash for Italian minister for call to end racism law

CRITICISM: Minister Lorenzo Fontana

LEADERS HAVE criticised Minister Lorenzo Fontana’s plan to abolish an anti-racism law that he made in a statement on Friday (August 3).

The 1993 law condemns racist violence, hatred and discrimination, yet the minister has argued that “globalists” were using it to “disguise their anti-Italian racism as anti-fascism.”

The president of Italy’s Union of Jewish Communities, Noemi Di Segni criticised the minister’s words, outlining that the law should be enforced and defended.

Di Segni told The Associated Press that the Jewish community is concerned with the current “radicalisation” of governments and populations in Italy and across Europe.

She said: “There is a climate of widespread intolerance in many contexts,” she said, noting the ongoing intolerance targets minorities and migrants. “If we don’t address the change in the climate, we risk of getting there when it’s too late.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wrote in a Facebook post that he believes the anti-racism law, known as “Mancino” law, is “sacrosanct.”

In addition to the several lawmakers, organisations and officials that condemned Fontana’s remarks, a group representing World War II resistors of fascism called for his immediate dismissal.

However, the controversial statement appears to have divided the nation as Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, called Fontana’s proposal “the right battle at the wrong time.”

Since the appointment of its new government, Italy has garnered a reputation for its several attacks, some targeting migrants that investigate possible acts of racism.

It spurred a debate about whether the long-standing migrant crisis was sparking racism in some quarters of the Italian population.

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