A 15-minute drive from Saman’s cottage, the young Pakistani woman disappeared and most likely killed by family members for refusing an arranged marriage in Pakistan, there is the mosque in via Cardinal Ferrari in Pieve di Guastalla, a two-story house. On the ground floor the Islamic Cultural Center of the Pakistani community and on the first floor the home of the Imam.
The Italian Islamic community is a complex and multifaceted world. In recent days, many exponents of the Italian Islamic community, when they have not attacked the Italian institutions, have lashed out against the family of Saman Abbas, guilty of not following true Islamic dictates. The murder of the girl would have originated due to a family cultural backwardness. But what are these dictates? Where should they find examples to follow?
In May the Carabinieri, with a search decree, show up at the Abbas family’s home but find no one, neither the parents nor the girl (returned after invitations to make peace) and begin the search for the young woman, probably killed and buried in the fields. At the same time, interrogations of Pakistani citizens, residing in the area, also begin to understand if the possible murder of the girl originated only in the family and if any information has leaked into the community. The Carabinieri are still looking for Saman’s body in the Novellara area. But the Islamic Center of the Reggio town has a secretary of Moroccan origin and the Center would be frequented by very few Pakistanis. Immediately after the media explosion of the case, the secretary, Salaheddine Hichami, pronounced himself decisively against the violence. But it looks like in the area the Pakistani community is concentrated in the other center, the one located in via Cardinal Ferrari in Pieve di Guastalla, made and frequented only by Pakistanis. The Center is just a few kilometers away from the cottage where Saman’s family lived.
Pieve di Guastalla is a full-bodied conglomerate of family homes and villas with nearly 5000 inhabitants. In between, the Pakistani Center arose in anonymity, where one of the usual meetings took place on 23 May.
Those who live in the area, annoyed by the wildly parked cars nearby, say that it is not the first time that the Center’s prayer sessions have degenerated into something else. And problems in the area abound. On May 23 it ended in clashes with bars, sticks and knives. At least thirty people involved. At 9 pm the neighbors called for help, two ambulances, a self-medical and several Carabinieri patrols rushed in. At first 5 Pakistanis go to the ER, but as the hours go by the the toll of the injured is rising up to 17 people, aged between 43 and 60, who have been diagnosed with injuries that can be cured within 3 to 30 days. Two factions fought with bars over the management of the mosque and the choice of the Imam. The Center would have been built and bought, as land, by the entire Pakistani community but one no longer accepts the other part: the local reports describe a clash between a more “intransigent” group and a more ‘soft’ one.
Was it in this Center that the Abbas family had to find examples to follow in order to be good Muslims? And abandon the backwardness? We do not know. Nor is it possible to understand whether the Abbas family has left traces in this community such as to make their moves understood. It is certain that the Pakistani community it remains a very closed context that it moves in a way not attributable to our geographical maps.
“Many of these Pakistanis are also integrated and good guys, especially the young ones,” explains ad Affaritaliani.it Vincenzo Iafrate, opposition municipal councilor in Guastalla, “but there is a big problem: no women are seen. We don’t know where they are. They do not exist. It is a world of men. Every public demonstration, even those condemning the Saman affair, has this flaw and is a problem for everyone. Even for us Italians. The community must accept the rules of the country where it lives. Women have the same rights as men. What we see is not acceptable ”.
The municipal councilor of Novellara and the provincial level Cristina Fantinati of the same opinion: “Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of this little girl. She arrived here at the age of 13, goes to school for 6 months and then she is closed at home, a recluse. Who knows? It is not known. He doesn’t socialize with anyone. How was he at 17? She was a child, naive. She had to be helped, accompanied. You couldn’t send a little girl into that house“.
… end of the first part