Ramadan in Italy amid migrant emergency and terror fears

Grand Mosque, door open to migrants open to discussion

17 June, 14:03

    Rome's Great Mosque, the largest in Europe Rome's Great Mosque, the largest in Europe

    (by Cristiana Missori) (ANSAmed) - ROME, JUNE 17 - Ramadan this year will be marked by ''concern for the immigration emergency and terrorism that is advancing'' for Muslims in Italy. The holy month of fasting and purification for worshipers will start tomorrow, according to the announcement of the Islamic cultural center of Italy of the Grand Mosque in Rome. And if many will spend it among family and friends, many others will celebrate it in prison, holding centers across the country or, as is the case in Rome, tent cities set up by the Red Cross after thousands of migrants were relocated from the streets around the Tiburtina station.

    ''Our thoughts are for the suffering and desperation experienced by migrants who continue to arrive in Italy'', the secretary general of the Islamic center, Abdellah Redouane, told ANSAmed. ''We are two steps away from the Tiburtina station and anyone who wants it will be welcomed here at the mosque'' without identifying themselves or declaring their provenance. The Association of doctors of foreign origin (Amsi), through its president, Professor Foad Aodi, has expressed concern for the many refugees in poor health who mean to respect one of the five pillars of Islam by abstaining from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset (almost 18 hours and a half). ''We want to try to convince refugees - mainly Eritrean, Somali and Syrian nationals in Rome, as well as those across Italy - not to do the Ramadan''. In particular, the doctor stressed, ''the many pregnant women, the sick and those who are in poor health condition''. The right to health, said the president of the Community of the Arab World in Italy (Comai), ''must prevail over the wish to follow religious norms'', also recalling that ''travelers and the chronically ill don't have to abide by this obligation''.

    From North to South, hundreds of cultural associations and Italian mosques have organized many initiatives. In Rome, said Abdellah Redouane, the Islamic center of the Grand Mosque has scheduled ''daily cultural, religious and social activities''.

    In particular, during this month ''we schedule three meetings at which institutions, representatives of other religious communities and civil society associations will be invited to boost existing friendship ties''.

    As always, Rome's mosque ''will guarantee each day a warm meal to the hundreds of worshippers arriving''. Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino, according to tradition, has also been invited to the Iftar, the end of the fast.

    This year remains difficult for Italy's Muslim community, which includes over 1.5 million people and does not have a single leadership to represent it. Among unresolved issues is the lack of an agreement with the State, a document enabling to regulate the many aspects of the life of Muslims. Dialogue with the government is nevertheless progressing.

    Two days ago, the interior ministry summoned a new meeting with representatives of the Muslim community in Italy (set up by Minister Angelino Alfano on February 23). During the meeting chaired by Undersecretary Domenico MAnzione, attended by well-established representatives of the Muslim world, from Coreis to the Islamic center, a new participant was welcomed: the Shiite Islamic association 'Imam Mahdi' led by President Abbas di Palma. Among issues under exam, said Redouane, was the training of Italian imams and the legal framework of the hundreds of prayer sites (mosques) still considered cultural centers instead of places of worship. (ANSAmed)

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