Evaluating linguistic rights—or any type of claim in legislation on the basis of cultural differences—is a difficult task for legal professionals working within the framework of the contemporary pluralistic state.
This paper lays down some simple methodological guidelines for the assessment and classification of these rights by recently established minority religious groups in Europe, especially Islamic groups in Italy, within a democratic and pluralist polity.
It is divided into two sections. The first concerns the definition and interpretation of “culture” as a legal good, as depicted from many kinds of international and constitutional provisions on the subject.
The second deals with language rights of Muslim communities in the Italian legal system.
The article describes the making of the right of worship of Muslim minorities in Europe and its current difficulties, presenting and commenting on the emblematic example of local legislation concerning the building of new mosques in northern Italy. Controlling norms arise from recent decisions of the Italian Constitutional Court. The Court declared unconstitutional certain provisions of two regional laws approved by the Lombardy region (2/2015) and the Veneto region (12/2016), which imposed very strict conditions for the opening, approval and use of mosques. In particular, the Court declared unconstitutional norms that—with regard to the building of places of worship—introduced certain conditions for groups with an agreement with the State and different conditions for those without. Moreover, the Court declared unconstitutional the principle that all religious services that take place in a building open to public should be conducted in Italian. The basic assumption of the article is that current discrimination is the combined result of anti-migration sentiment and Islamophobic prejudices, and the consequence of the Eurocentric nature of the principle of religious freedom. A historically-oriented pluralism and multilevel (national) enforcement of freedom of religion seem to be huge obstacles to the implementation of the right to worship for Muslims in Europe and Italy.
This article addresses the Egyptian Constitution issued in 2014 (dustūr ǧumhūriyyah miṣr al-ʿarabiyyah). Article 2 declares that Islam is the religion of the State and that the Sharīʿah is the main source of legislation. The aim of the author is to interpret this provision considering the role that the Islamic religion plays in the cultural and legal framework of Arab countries, notably in Egypt. Furthermore, this article tries to develop a pluralistic interpretation of the norm, taking into account some foundational aspects of the Egyptian legal system including the Civil Code of 1948, the particular tradition of Arab Constitutionalism, and the former jurisprudence of the Supreme Constitutional Court.