Police in Rome have halted the construction of a new mosque claiming some irregularities with building laws.
"Certain rooms were being enlarged and a partition wall knocked down without authorisation", police officer Carlo Buttarello was quoted as saying by Rome-daily, Il Messaggero.
But Rome's city council manager for security, Jean-Leonard Touadi, said the stoppage was temporary, and it "just needs for regulations to be respected", for work to resume.
The site for the planned mosque whose opening was scheduled for 7 September, is adjacent to the Roman Catholic Church of San Vito in Rome's multi-ethnic Esquilino neighbourhood.
But Touadi dismissed the criticism.
"Rome, the city which hosts the Vatican and the largest mosque in Europe (inaugurated in 1995 and shown in the photo), cannot and must not fear a new place of worship which instead must be guaranteed", he was quoted as saying by Il Messaggero.
Two of those opposed to the mosque are right-wing city councillors, Federico Mollicone and Stefano Tozzi, both of the opposition Alleanza Nazionale party - a member of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition.
"While we respect every sort of religious freedom, we find it inexplicable that [Rome mayor Walter] Veltroni and the city's Prefect can authorise and accept such a move in a district where cohabitation between Italian and foreigners is very difficult," they said in a joint statement issued Tuesday before the police's intervention at the site.
"In addition choosing that site in front of one of Christianity's most ancient churches is a serious religious provocation which would never be possible in Islamic nations," Mollicone and Tozzi said.
The Esquilino mosque which aims to serve Rome's Bangladeshi community was to open with prayers led by Sheikh Ubeidulhaqq, a prominent Muslim cleric who serves as imam of the Beit al-Mukarram mosque in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka.
Last Mod: 22 Ağustos 2007, 13:50