The Italian Parliament, which recently ratified the Council of Europe’s convention on cultural heritage after a seven-year debate, would do better to follow the Hungarian example of defending its Christian heritage, MP of the right-wing Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) Andrea Delmastro Delle Vedove told conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Hírlap in an interview.
“The document states that the cultural heritage of each country must not be to the detriment of people from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Fratelli d’Italia has firmly rejected the framework agreement from the beginning because we think it contains several blood-curdling points. We believe that our cultural heritage will be censored by those from other societies, especially in respect to Muslims,” Delle Vedove said in the interview.
The opposition politician assessed that certain points in the text of the convention clearly support the subjugation of Western civilization to Islam. According to right-wing parties, the convention puts a gun in the hands of those who want to destroy Italian identity and freedom. The MP also recalled that there have been many examples of the removal and humiliation of Christian symbols in recent years.
“Think of the crucifixes removed from the walls of schools, which progressive activists on the left say could be offensive to families and their children from Islamic countries,” he noted.
“If someone’s representation of the crucified Christ bothers them, they should either accept our culture or move to another country. In a country with a serious government, such as Hungary, this cannot happen. However, Italy does not have a serious government,” he said.
Hungary is known for celebrating its Christian heritage, calling for greater protections of Christians worldwide, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán speaking on Hungary’s commitment to preserving the country’s traditions on many occasions. In his Christmas address in 2017, he said:
According to the Gospel of Saint Mark, Christ’s second commandment is “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There has been much talk of Christ’s commandment in Europe nowadays. It is used to rebuke us for declaring ourselves to be Christian, while at the same time declaring that we do not want millions of people from other continents settling in Europe—and that we even refuse to let them in.
But this commandment consists of two parts, and our accusers have forgotten the second part: we must love our neighbour, but we must also love ourselves. Loving ourselves also means accepting and protecting everything that embodies what we are and who we are. Loving ourselves means that we love our country, our nation, our family, Hungarian culture and European civilisation. Within these contexts, our freedom—Hungarian freedom—has unfolded, and can unfold, time after time.
Vedove believes that Italy is taking a different stance on a number of key social and cultural issues.
“Censoring artistic and cultural heritage is seriously at odds with the core values of Western democracy. The 600-year-old fresco in Bologna’s San Petronio Cathedral, for example, should be removed, according to the logic of the Framework Convention, as it depicts the Prophet Muhammad naked in the flames of hell,” Delle Vedove said.
The famous Renaissance artist Giovanni di Modena depicts the Islamic prophet on the wall of the cathedral in a kind of contemporary caricature.
“It expresses the worldview of a particular era of art; it cannot be falsified,” Delle Vedove said. “People of Islam who live in the country should get used to the fact that artistic self-expression is enjoyed in Western Europe, including Italy,” he added.
Title image: Italian MP of the Fratelli d’Italia party Andrea Delmastro Delle Vedove.