Italy, so anxious to do the bidding of its new masters, is playing into the hands of jihadists by arresting CIA agents. So says the leader of the Confederation of Moroccans in Italy, who says that jihadists will just be emboldened by this strong show of Italian non-support for efforts to stop them.
I don’t know much about Souad Sbai or her moderation, but her main point is certainly true.
From AKI, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Rome, 6 July (AKI) – The arrest of top military intelligence officials in Italy in connection with the abduction of a terrorist suspect is a major defeat for moderate Islam, according to the leader of the Confederation of Moroccans in Italy. “The arrest of the operations director of SISMI Marco Mancini and Gen. Gustavo Pignero in the investigation on [the alleged CIA kidnapping in Milan of an] Egyptian imam, Abu Omar, is perceived by Muslim moderates like ourselves as a major defeat,” Souad Sbai told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Thursday, a day after the arrests took place.
“The fight against Islamic fundamentalists in Italy will now be much more cautious,” said Sbai, who is also a member of a government-appointed advisory body on Muslim affairs in Rome, the Consulta.
Muslim cleric Abu Omar, a terror suspect, is believed to have been abducted by CIA agents in a street in Milan on 17 February, 2003. Prosecutors allege Omar was subsequently flown, via Italian and German military bases, to Egypt, and once there, tortured.
Milan prosecutors accuse SISMI of having cooperated in Omar’s kidnapping, which was allegedly part of a clandestine ‘extraordinary rendition’ operation – a practice Washington admits it has used to capture and deport foreign terror suspects, often to countries where they could face torture. General Pignero was in 2003 the boss of Mancini, who is today SISMI’s number two under chief Nicolo Pollari.
“The victories of SISMI under the management of Nicolo Pollari in the fight against terrorism had encouraged us a lot as many Muslims whose fundamentalism scared the community were arrested and expelled,” said Sbai.
Sbai in particular fears the arrest will damage progress made in Italian mosques where moderates prevail: “In this way all the people like Abu Omar will feel the urge to come to Italy.”
“The imams who had been inciting fundamentalism will return to preach,” she said. “After this arrest moderate Muslims are afraid. They know that for Islamic militants this is a great victory. Now many extremists who left Italy will be encouraged to return to their mosques. For people like us who fight against fundamentalism in our communities this is a great defeat.”