Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Protest at an Italian museum over discount for Arabic speakers

by Salman Hameed

This is a new one for anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe. The largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside Cairo are hosted at the Egyptian Museum in the Italian city of Turin (wait - I presume that we can also see the Shroud of Turin here too). I am surprised that Italy has one of the largest Egyptian collection. In any case, the museum is giving discounts to Arabic speakers - which makes sense since Egypt has the largest population of Arabic speakers.

However, an Italian far-right party, The Brothers of Italy, is upset and calls it discrimination against Italians (from NYT):
The Brothers of Italy, a small but vocal far-right party that is a member of the coalition headed by Silvio Berlusconi, took offense at the offer for “discriminating against Italians” and staged a protest on Friday. 
“This is a specific case directed to a specific religion,” Giorgia Meloni, secretary of the Brothers of Italy, said in Turin, where she led the protest carrying a “No Islamization” banner. 
“There is racism in Italy — against Italians,” Ms. Meloni proclaimed.
The museum director, Christian Greco, left his office inside the building to confront the chanting protesters. 
“The museum belongs to everybody,” Mr. Greco explained calmly to Ms. Meloni, in an exchange that was captured on video, and then widely circulated on social media and on Italian television stations over the weekend. 
Mr. Greco made the point that the museum belonged to everyone and had various promotions to lure many types of visitors — including discounts for couples on Valentine’s Day.
Here is the video of the exchange (unfortunately not subtitled in English - or in Arabic... :) )

This is a relatively small thing but a symptom of a much bigger problem.

Read the full story from NYT here.
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