Islam: Italy, town of Salemi offers to host mosque

Mayor meets Qatar delegation, construction area identified

30 January, 15:13

(ANSAmed) - SALEMI, JANUARY 30 - A major mosque becoming a place of worship for all Muslims in Sicily could be built in Salemi. The proposal has been made by the mayor of the city, Vittorio Sgarbi, to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Ben Kaliffa Al Thani.

The mayor this morning formally agreed to make an area of the Rabato district in the centre of the town available for construction. The project would see the fulfilment of a scheme pushed through by Sgarbi himself as early as 2009. "Financing for the construction of the mosque is guaranteed by a bilateral agreement between the town of Salemi and Qatar," Sgarbi said.

The announcement follows Sgarbi's meeting in Catania last night with a delegation from Qatar led by Sheikh Hamadi Ahmad, the chairman of the Qatar Charity Foundation, representatives of the union of Italian Islamic communities and organisations (UCOII), and Giampiero Paladini, the chairman of Confime, the confederation of businesses in southern Italy.

"Sicily is enthusiastic about hosting Islam," Sgarbi said. "Nothing is more important than finding common sentiments and convictions in the different religions that consider a single God. This is one of the reasons that just as our cities have Christian places of worship, I think it is important for a mosque to be built in Salemi for citizens of Arab culture and language. History imposes it upon us".

On Saturday, the Qatari delegation, accompanied by local official Tania Riccò and the town councillor, Fabrizio Gucciardi (who is also a regional representative of Confime) visited the old town of Salemi, stopping off in the Arab quarter of Rabato, that mayor Sgarbi has suggested as the site for the construction of the new mosque. (ANSAmed).

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