A New Threat May Result In The Closure Of Dozens Of Shuls In Italy

In a bid to prevent the spread of Islam in Italy, about a decade ago, the government of Lombardy (Northern Italy) enacted a series of stringent laws for religious buildings, some of which are unrealistic, such as the creation of 250 parking spaces adjacent to each building. These criteria are intended to prevent the possibility of establishing mosques within cites, and have recently been enforced with greater force, BeChadrei Chareidim reports.

However, no one took into account what this would mean to most shuls in Milan, the capital of the province, since they never bothered to arrange special permits for a religious structure, and suddenly, they lost their legal status.

For many years, the authorities have turned a blind eye to the problem and allowed the shuls to continue to operate, but now, a provocative petition has been filed in a Milan court against the Beit HaTalmud Chabad House by those who wish to exploit the new laws to get rid of the facility, a major Jewish institution in the city. This may also lead to additional petitions and the closure of many shuls in Milan.

Shuls built years ago, before the law was passed, have no worry as the law does not apply to buildings constructed before it was passed. However, shuls built after the law was passed were not defined as religious buildings because no one thought there would be a problem but now, with the enforcement of these laws, there is a serious threat to their future.

Chabad shaliach Rav Moshe Sheikowitz told BeChadrei Chareidim “This is not a matter of who emerge the victor in court, but the very essence of the laws may lead to a dangerous precedent. We are calling on all of Am Yisrael to be mispallel and after the Yomim Tovim we will get into the heart of the matter and decide how to act”.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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