CAIRO – The daughter of an Italian former parliamentarian has reverted to Islam and donned Islamic hijab, a decision which sparked uproar across Italy.
“The hijab is my way, the way that Allah has chosen for me,” Manuela Franco Barbato, now Aysha, wrote on her Facebook account, Il Giornale daily reported on May 26.
“I am proud of the purity of my soul. This is the divine law, who am I to object?”
Aysha is the daughter of a former MP for Italy of Values party Franco Barbato.
The young woman decided to revert to Islam while studying in the Università L’orientale of Napoli.
Now approaching graduation, she moved to India with her husband and two children.
Aysha’s decision to revert to Islam shocked her father who said he is having hard times since his daughter’s change of faith.
Nevertheless, the now veiled Aysha’s supports her father’s Napoli mayoral campaign.
Italy has a Muslim population of some 1.7 million, including 20,000 reverts, according to the figures released by Istat, the national statistics agency.
A Pew Research Center poll released in January found that Italians — at 63 percent of respondents — lead Western Europe in holding “unfavorable” views of Muslims.
Greeks came in second, at 53 percent, while a majority of French, British and Germans viewed Muslims favorably.