ROME: The Palermo Muslim community held an interfaith iftar here with leading members of the Italian clergy and local city officials in a bid to promote, peace, respect and integration.
The event was organized by the Tunisian community in the city, with the support of the Moroccan consulate and the Municipal Council of Cultures, and attracted over 1,000 people.
Palermo Archbishop Corrado Lorefice and the Imam of the Piazza Gran Cancelliere Mosque Mustafa Boulaalam joined the common prayer, which was followed by a dinner with traditional Tunisian dishes.
The faithful — mostly Tunisians, Moroccans and Bangladeshis — had their prayer in Piazza Magione, a large and iconic square in the oldest part of the city center.
Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando also attended the event.
“In Palermo we believe in integration and sharing together. We want our city to be a welcoming place for every religion and culture,” said Orlando.
He thanked the Muslim communities in Palermo “for their active presence in the religious, social and cultural texture of our city which aims to be a meeting place for everyone.”
At the end of the event, the Tunisian community honored the mayor with a plaque to thank him “for being our sentinel of respect and human dignity.” Orlando also received from the imam his traditional hat and cloak.
Boulaalam said: “After two years of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now we finally manage to live some normality and we have the pleasure to celebrate Ramadan again together with the entire city of Palermo.
“We are pleased to let everyone know the precious message of peace marking the holy month of Ramadan.”