Need to correct wrong image of Islam, promote tolerance

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KUWAIT CITY, March 14: Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Islamic Culture House in Milan, Italy Mahmoud Asfa confirmed that he is keen on correcting the wrong image of Islam in the West, combating hatred and promoting acceptance of others, reports Al-Qabas daily. Asfa revealed to the daily that he visited Kuwait with his wife Shatha Ahmad Ali, who works as an Arabic language teacher for non-native speakers in Milan, to collect donations to build a mosque in Milan. He said the mosque will be the center of worship and a house of intellectual, cultural and jurisprudential radiation for Muslims, as well as for spreading the correct Islamic culture that the West desires. It is also aimed at informing others about the tolerant teachings of Islam and its dedication to humanity, justice, love, and goodness, he added.

He stated that he and his wife are guests of the International Islamic Charitable Organization; calling on generous people to donate for the construction of this mosque, stressing that Kuwait Al- Khair is a pioneer in supporting Islamic and charitable projects. He disclosed he immigrated to Italy to study in 1982, and that this choice was related to the World Cup. He added: “I asked my father to allow me to study in Italy, because of my attachment to football. He agreed and I arrived there in 1982, during which I participated in the World Cup celebrations. We have a religious upbringing. I pray regularly. When I traveled to the West, I had the challenge to adhere to the Islamic religion, such that I started frequenting Islamic centers and moved to Milan.

The presence of Muslims in Italy was huge in the 1970s. We established the House of Islamic Culture with the participation of university students from Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and various nationalities. We rented a building for Friday prayers and engaged in some religious activities. Then, the number increased; hence, the need for a center that brought together all Muslims there. The House of Islamic Culture was founded in 1992. We began to bring together all Muslims there, provided all services, established social work, and organized religious and cultural activities. He pointed out that students from 100 Italian public schools visit the House of Islamic Culture, which is located in an old building and it is not a mosque. It is a cultural center that welcomes those wishing to visit.

We coordinate with the municipality of Milan to give lectures on Islam in schools and universities. We asked the municipality for a cemetery to bury Muslims, and the House of Islamic Culture is supervising it. He touched on the West’s wrong view of Islam, pointing out that he wrote a book about true Islam and this book contributed to guiding many people and converting them to Islam. He said a large percentage of people in Italy, especially women, convert to Islam when they learn the truth about the Islamic religion, which is fair to women and dedicates human love, justice, and goodness to the benefit of societies. We have succeeded in demonstrating Islam’s honor for women and its dedication to justice and human love.” On the other hand, Shatha Ahmad Ali, who is also a social activist and responsible for parents in Italian schools, confirmed that she is keen on raising her children well. She initially suffered from a lack of tools that help Muslims raise their children properly; hence, the need for the House of Islamic Culture, in addition to the Islamic culture that is based on the tolerant teachings of the true religion.

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