Building a mosque in Italy where Islam is without official status

The number of Muslims in the Italian city of Florence is growing. However, funding a new mosque could be complicated as the religion is not yet eligible for state funding.

Photo by: Reuters Archive
Photo by: Reuters Archive

An estimated 1.6 million Muslims lived in Italy in 2016 but Islam is the only major faith in Italy that is not officially recognised.

An estimated 3.7 percent of Italy's population is Muslim but Islam is the only major faith there that does not have official status. 

As a result, mosques are not eligible for state funding through a tax levy that funds other faiths. Muslim employees are not guaranteed the right to take the day off on religious holidays.

Islam is the second most followed faith in the mostly Roman Catholic country. But as the number of Muslims in Italy continues to grow, there aren't enough mosques to accommodate them all.

Rome is home to the biggest mosque in the Western world but proposals to construct traditional-style mosques elsewhere have frequently run into opposition from local councils which can withhold planning permission on any number of technical grounds.

Florence has only three mosques for 15,000 Muslims but before the Muslim community can even start raising funds, it needs to find a location with the help of Florence's City Hall.

TRT World's Daniela Berretta went to Florence to find out more about the city's Muslims.

Source: 
TRTWorld, AFP