To Flee Mob, Italian Museum Seeks Asylum in Germany Mafia threats spark plea for museum and staff By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Feb 8, 2011 3:37 AM CST 0 comments Comments The museum's director says local police have done nothing about the threats. (Casoria Museum) (Newser) – The director of a Naples museum is urging Germany to grant asylum to the museum and its staff seeking to flee the mob. Antonio Manfredi says the contemporary art museum has been plagued by vandalism and threats from the local Mafia. The museum has put on exhibitions dealing with social issues, including the prevalence of organized crime, Der Spiegel reports. "I am sending you a request that I know probably sounds absurd, but that just goes to show the immense difficulties one faces in trying to make culture in my country," Manfredi wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "In the name of culture and art, I hereby ask you to grant our request." German officials say they are viewing the request as more of a stunt than a serious plea for asylum.