“At this historic stage, it is important to conduct an interreligious dialogue that must be based on two theoretical points: do not persecute anyone in God’s name, do not kill in God’s name.” This is the message that the Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti has sent from the synagogue of via Guastalla in Milan. The Italian Minister was a speaker during the European Day of the Jewish Culture organized by the Milanese Community and he pointed out that the dialogue plays a key role in the future of European democracy.
“It may seem obvious”, Mr. Minniti said, “but at this historic moment it’s not. So this is a moral, cultural and religious problem, and then it becomes a matter of security. In order to fight the ones who kill in God’s name, I will implement all the measures that are in my power as a Minister of the Interior, but I will also accept the moral, cultural and religious challenge, and that’s why I came here, to ask you to face this challenge with me.”
The chief rabbi of Milan rav Alfonso Arbib welcomed the Minister, who thanked him after his speech on the meaning of the Diaspora for the Jewish people. Also the mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala spoke in the synagogue; he drew attention to the worrying flourishing of neo-fascist movements. “In Milan there have been signs of a revival of right-wing extremism”, Mr. Sala said, “with unacceptable deeds, like acts of apologia of fascism and of Nazism, but the city rejected them with its calm firmness. I will always be on the front line to fight them, I will not hide.” Meanwhile, Cyril Aslanov, professor at the Aix-Marseille University and at the Saint Petersburg State University, talked about diaspora and language; then in the afternoon Haim Baharier returned on this theme. Later on, always in the synagogue of via Guastalla, there was a discussion between women with Antonia Arslan, Maryan Ismail and Andrée Ruth Shammah as protagonists. “To be a part of the Diaspora”, said Mr. Besso, co-president with Milo Hasbani of the Milanese Community, “allows us to understand better than others what it means to deal with current issues like immigration, integration and reception.” Also the vice-president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Giorgio Mortara talked about the ability of the Jewish people, despite the difficulties of living in the diaspora. “Our hope is that the Jewish experience can be a useful contribution for the future of the Italian society and of Europe. In the past we arrived here as strangers, as diasporic Jews, but, some over the centuries, some over the decades, we have all learned to call this place home. And to respect it as such.”
*Translation made by Sara Volpe, student at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, intern at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.