Italian politician accused of ‘shameful racism’


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The Independent Online

A senior politician has hit out at racist remarks aimed at the country’s first black minister by a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party.

The League’s MEP Mario Borghezio said in an interview with Italian Radio 24 that Cecile Kyenge would make “a great housekeeper but not a minister”. He said: “This is a bonga bonga government, they want to change birthright citizenship laws and Kyenge wants to impose her tribal traditions from Congo. You can’t say the word ‘nigger’ in Italy, only think it. Pretty soon you won’t even be able to say illegal immigrant … She seems like a great housekeeper, but not a minister.”

Laura Boldini, the centre-left parliamentary Speaker, accused the MEP of “vulgar and shameful racism” and called on politicians to condemn the comments.

Ms Kyenge, 48, an eye surgeon who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was sworn in on Sunday as Integration Minister. She is thought to have angered Northern League activists by attacking its proposals for illegal immigrant status to be made a criminal offence.