Manama: Kuwaitis expressed mixed reactions to a decision by municipal authorities in the north-eastern Italian town of Citadella not to allow shops to sell kebabs and other "non-traditional" food.
The council of the medieval walled town in Veneto on Friday said that kebab was not part of their tradition and identity. Mayor Massimo Bitonci of the anti-immigration Northern League party said that the ban was made on health grounds against "dishes cooked and then left in the open for a long time".
Food savvy Kuwaitis reacted by focussing on the quality of kebab and the possible motives behind the decision.
"They are right since kebab is not healthy food," Bu Msaad wrote on Al Aan news portal. "It is mainly fat and skin that are well spiced in order to fool clients," he said.
According to "Kuwaiti Citizen", Italians are "free to decide what should be sold and what should be banned in their country".
"An appropriate reaction by Arabs for instance is to ban the sale of pizzas," he wrote.
However for Mohammad Bu Jassoom, the issue went beyond the quality or origin of food. "It is not about food. The problem is that there are some people in that town who want to hurt immigrants and Muslims. They are willing to use all means to achieve their goal," he wrote.
Kebab generally refers to shish kebab served on the skewer or döner kebab served in bread with a salad and a dressing.
It consisted traditionally of grilled, roasted, and stewed small cuts of lamb meat. However, as it gained global popularity and depending on local tastes and taboos, it may now be beef, goat, chicken, pork, fish or even vegetarian foods such as falafel or tofu.
Bitonci, who also sits as a deputy for the Northern League, made headlines in 2009 when he introduced measures against beggars and street sellers as well as parking restrictions for caravans to dissuade travelling people.
He has also proposed mandatory public service for under-16s found drinking alcohol. The anti-immigration Northern League is part of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, ruling coalition.