In Italy, marriages between ethnic Italians and foreigners have increased tenfold in fifteen years, according to the latest survey. Mixed marriages are up from 60,000 in 1991 to 600,000 last year, Catholic charity organisation Caritas/Migrantes said, citing data from statistics agency Istat.
The biggest problems in mixed marriages have to do with children, especially where Muslim or North African men are concerned.
By custom and religion these men have a high perception of their domestic entitlements: a fact that can lead to growing tension, Caritas and Istat said.
The Muslim tradition of female subservience often leads to marital break-down, even though most Italian women convert to Islam, the report said.
“In North Africa, children are considered the ‘property’ of the husband,” said one of the experts cited in the report, from Milan’s Bicocca University, pointing out that “Some of these fathers will end up kidnapping their children to bring them back to patriarchal domains”.