Tax Breaks for Terror?

Letter From Italy

On June 23, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that Italian police had smashed a Milan-based Islamic terrorist cell that was planning an attack on the Basilica of San Petronio.  This church, the most important in Bologna, is dedicated to its patron saint, and it contains a fresco showing Muhammad being tortured by demons in hell.  Corriere della Sera said police uncovered the plot after intercepting the phone conversations of a group of Moroccans and Tunisians, some of whom are believed to be members of Algeria’s extremist Salafist Group of Preaching and Combat, led by Hassan Hattab.  The cell was reportedly in contact with a Libyan terrorist known as Amsa, allegedly a leading member of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terror network and active in Afghanistan, Iran, and Europe.  Amsa was arrested this summer in London.  The paper reported that Amsa’s job had been to “make contact with various terror cells in Europe in order to organize terror attacks.”  The group in Milan had links to similar cells in Bologna, Rome, Naples, and Vercelli, and Italian investigators had uncovered its plans to coordinate an attack on the church in Bologna in February.

The fresco, painted in 1415 by Giovanni da Modena, has long been criticized by Muslims in Italy.  There have been campaigns for its removal or destruction, including letters to Pope John Paul II and Giacomo...

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