Evidence is anecdotal for the moment, but it appears that at least among the Moroccan community – the largest group of non-European Union immigrants, numbering some 30,000 in Turin – people are packing their bags and going home.

The economic crisis is biting and jobs are much harder to find. On top of that, new legislation makes it harder for immigrants to renew their residence permits, and the xenophobic Northern League, a hardline coalition ally in the centre-right government, is resurgent following its sweeping gains in regional elections last month.

Abdelaziz Khounati, the Moroccan president of an Islamic association that has the green light to build a mosque in Turin, reels off a list of cities where the Northern League has blocked similar projects, sometimes threatening to walk pigs across the land to desecrate it.

"First the League campaigned against the southern Italians who migrated to Turin decades ago, then it was foreigners in general. Now it is Muslims," he says, standing in the large empty building, part of which used to be a Chinese-run clothing workshop, where the new Misericordioso (Merciful) mosque is taking shape. *Read**full article…*