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League says Letta should forget museum, focus on economy

Premier says Italy considering Islamic centre in Venice

03 February, 16:02
League says Letta should forget museum, focus on economy (ANSA) - Rome, February 3 - A proposal to establish a Islamic museum on Venice's Grand Canal was slammed Monday by the Northern League, which suggested Premier Enrico Letta should focus on the economy and not cultural institutions.

The criticism came soon after Letta said, during a trip to Doha, that his government "made a commitment to explore the opportunity to build an Islamic museum in Venice on the Grand Canal".

Massimo Bitonci, Senate whip for the regionalist League, accused Letta of working to spread Islam in Italy.

"We do not want any Islamic museum in Venice," Bitonci said. "Letta would do better to focus on the economic crisis instead of thinking (of ways) to spread Islam," he added.

He suggested Letta was attempting to distract attention from a major industrial problem involving electrical-appliance multinational Electrolux, which last week announced a shock wage-cut plan it said was necessary to keep its Italian plants running.

Letta's government held emergency talks last week with company managers over the issue.

Letta has been in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar to drum up investment to help to pull the Italian economy out of its longest postwar recession.