Hundreds of Muslims offered prayers near the Rome’s Colosseum as a protest for closing mosques and other Islamic religious centers in Italy. The protest was held because Muslims felt they had unfair restrictions on freedom to practice faith, the organizers called for the protest after the recent closure of many mosques on administrative grounds. The worshippers knelt to pray on prayer mats and held placards reading “peace” and “open the mosques”. A Bangladeshi group, Dhuumcatu, had organized the protests and complained that Muslim places of worship had been illegally banned by authorities on bases of building violation. The group wants city hall to intervene and address the issue. Politician Barbara Saltamartini said the protest was an “unacceptable provocation” and should have never happened in Rome. In Italy, Islam is not recognized as an official religion, unlike Judaism or the Mormon faith, and many Muslims from North Africa and South Asia feel discriminated against on the grounds of both race and religion.
Anisha Venkatesh Babu