Italian police have opened an investigation after a controversial website published a list of "influential Jews" working in the country. The names of journalists, businessmen, actors and personalities of Jewish faith were published on the Italian page of Radio Islam, a multi-language platform hosting essays from renowned holocaust deniers.
The webpage branded those on the blacklist as members of the "Nazi-Jewish mafia". Some lawmakers called for the site to be taken down.
Jewish community representatives decried the incident as "unacceptable" and "despicable", saying it was incitement to sectarian violence. "It's an unbearable representation of anti-Semitic hatred," the head of Rome's Jewish community told Il Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Radio Islam was founded by Ahmed Rami, a Moroccan native living in Sweden. The Stockholm-based broadcaster had its transmission licence revoked by local authorities in the 1990s after two convictions for hate speech, including one that landed Rami in jail for six months.
It was later turned into a website, which now claims to be "owned by a group of freedom fighters from different countries in Ahmed Rami's global struggle." In its information section, the website claims to be "against racism of all forms, against all kinds of discrimination of people based on their colour of skin, faith or ethni background".
However its pages in 22 different languages host a plethora of anti-Semitic content on the global "Jewish lobby" and writings and interviews by infamous revisionists like Robert Faurisson and Roger Garaudy. The site depicts the material as part of its fight against "Jewish racism towards non-Jews".
The blacklist of Italian influential figures was published only in the Italian language section. It placed particular emphasis on media, drawing condemnation also from journalist unions. "It's a squalid, racist and intolerable, act," Giuseppe Giulietti and Raffaele Lorusso, chairman and secretary general of the National Federation of Italian Press said in a statement. "It firstly offends Muslims that have chosen a path of dialogue and respect. These lists reminiscent of the dark ages and walls we should all break down. "
Radio Islam's managers are facing possible charges of making threats and defamation aggravated by racial hatred.