By Steve Scherer
ROME (Reuters) - A local party official for Italy's Northern League caused a national uproar on Thursday for posting a violent comment on her Facebook page aimed at the country's first black minister.
Dolores Valandro, an elected local councilor in the northern city of Padua, wrote above a picture of African-born Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge that she should be raped.
Valandro's comment was in reference to a story from an Italian web site called "All the Crimes of Immigrants" about the alleged attempted rape of two woman by an African man.
"Why does no one rape her, so she can understand what the victim of this atrocious crime felt? Shame on you!" Valandro wrote, in capital letters.
Her comment was quickly circulated and condemned on Facebook and Twitter, and the story shot to the top of news web sites.
"This type of language is beyond me because it incites violence, and it tries to incite violence by the general public," the 48-year-old Kyenge, who was born in Democratic Republic of Congo and came to Italy when she was 18, replied on Twitter.
"This is an insult to all Italians," she added later.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta joined scores of public figures in condemning the rape comment.
"Cecile Kyenge is right. Each of us should be offended, as I am. Cecile merits my personal solidarity, as well as that of the government and the country," he said in a statement.
Lower house of parliament speaker Laura Boldrini said: "The words of the League councilor from Padua, Dolores Valandro, are unacceptable and full of racism and hate ... What's even worse is that it was a woman with a political role suggesting rape as a punishment."
Northern League regional secretary Flavio Tosi said Valandro would be ejected from the party for her "unspeakable" comment.
After becoming minister in April, Kyenge has been regularly insulted on far-right web sites.
Mario Borghezio, another Northern League member, was expelled from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament earlier this month for making racist remarks about Kyenge, including saying she wanted to impose Congo's "tribal traditions" on Italy.
Kyenge is campaigning to make it easier for immigrants to gain citizenship, and she backs a law that would automatically make anyone born on Italian soil a citizen.
Valandro later apologized in a radio interview and denied the Northern League was racist. "It was a comment made in a moment of anger, and I'm sorry," she said.
"We're always called racists, but it's not true. I've met Congo nationals in city hall myself. It's not a question of racism. If people come here they have to respect the rules a little bit," she said.
(Additional reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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