World Bulletin / News Desk
Italian Muslims are praying in warehouses, parking lots, and even garages and they are not happy about it.
In a country where Catholicism, Buddhism, Judaism and Mormonism are formally recognised religions in Italy, Islam, the country's second largest religion, is not.
With 1.5 million Muslims in Italy there are only two official, purpose-built mosques – in Rome and Milan – plus a few , around five, that resemble mosques but are in fact cultural associations.
This is in stark contrast to other European countries: Germany has 140 mosques with domes and minarets; the UK has around 200 purpose-built mosques. And while
In Venice, relations between the city's authorities and the Muslim community reportedly are well however there is increasing frustration that the majority of Muslims have to pray in their garages or flats. The nearest main Islamic centre is in Marghera, on the mainland, more than 10 kilometres away.
"We want our own place to pray," says Mohamed Amin Al Ahdab, president of the Islamic Community of Venice. "Every day, Muslims come from all over the world to see Venice and they ask 'Why don't you have a mosque?'"