R012 - If Islam is at school

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Date: 9 November 1998

To: Dr. Ernesto Galli Della Loggia

FROM : G. Eid

Number of pages: 1

Subject: If Islam is at school – Monday, 31 August 1998

The approaching of the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved by the United Nations on December 10, 1948 allows me to expose some thoughts. The first one is that the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights issued by the Islamic Council of Europe at the headquarters of UNESCO September 11, 1981 19 is in stark contrast to that of the U.N. … This explains some behaviours and proclamations by Islamic centres established in Europe.

It is well known that Islamic law (Sharia) includes different customs and traditions from those of the Western world and it might seem normal that Islamic leaders want to import into Europe. However, the laws of the Arab world are not the same in all countries: with the exception of Saudi Arabia and Sudan, the Arab countries apply the Sharia only for the part concerning the family and succession, that is, the personal status, and not all in the same way.

Without going into the merits of the individual requests (foulard, chador, canteens, gymnastics, study of the mother tongue – Hebrew, Filipino, Indonesian or Chinese Arabic), some of the norms mentioned in your article are not in force in Arabic countries, if not only in the last twenty years, and in any case not in all social circles. More precisely, they are more common in rural areas than in cities. I passed the classical Egyptian baccalaureate exams, alongside peers of both sexes; the university organized trips for students without distinction of sex (obviously in separate rooms) and I don’t even remember a case of chador. No importance was given to an isolated scarf of a girl (the chador is another thing). University sports competitions included both genders. Not for this reason they were less Muslims, or less practitioners. On the contrary.


I fully agree that the school is the ideal place for the integration of young people born in the society they chose to share, to learn language culture, and why not, to know the principles of the predominant Christian religion in the country. Adopting and living the rules and regulations of the country of adoption, without sacrificing one’s identity, prevents the formation of ghettos.

Continuing on the theme of coexistence, I would like to point out a book of mine on the immigration of Arabs, Christians and Muslims into our country. (Christians and Muslims around 2000 a possible coexistence, Editorial Pauline books.)

I myself, Egyptian by birth, Italian by adoption, business economist, wanted: my international experience at the service of ‘Italy in order to bring closer the peoples of the two shores of the Mediterranean.

There are more and more cases of inter-religious marriages with children at risk of being separated from their mother in the event of separation, or the return of the spouse to his or her country. This is one of the many aspects analysed in my book.

Noting that the new generations are culturally unprepared in the face of the immigration of the “different”, I wanted to make known to our society unknown aspects of the relationship between two peoples of different cultures and religions, so close but not known. Brothers who do not know each other but could love each other.

The phenomenon of migration is transforming Italy and Europe in the broadest sense into a multicultural one, where people of different languages, religions and cultures live together. To this end, I would like to point out the book: Islam: History, Faith, Culture. Publishing House: the School of Brescia. Authors: Crespi-Eid. I am available to discuss the subject as a contribution to my adopted country, and in anticipation of a courteous response, I offer my best regards.

Giuseppe Samir Eid

Free web translation from the original in Italian

The published articles intend to provide the tools for a social inclusion of the migratory flow, shed light on human rights and the condition of life of Christians in the Islamic world from which the author come from. Knowledge of the other, of cultural and religious differences are primary ingredients to create peace in the hearts of men everywhere, a prerequisite for a peaceful coexistence and convinced citizenship in the territory.

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