ITALY, Venice: Venice’s first mosque has been inaugurated in a ceremony attended by representatives of the Italian Islamic community and city institutions.
The opening of the mosque means the city — a UNESCO World Heritage site, and tourist and artistic landmark — now has dedicated place of worship for thousands of Muslims living in the area.
The building was bought by the local community with proceeds of the zakat collected by Muslims in Venice and the nearby industrial port of Mestre.
“I hope that from now on when tourists coming from all over the world visit Venice, they will take home not only a postcard of the city but also of this mosque, the mosque of Venice,” said Yassine Lafram, president of the Islamic community of Bologna and of the Union of Islamic Communities of Italy.
“We are proud of this site, as it is further evidence of our integration.”
Roberto Berton and Nandino Capivilla attended the ceremony representing the Catholic archdiocese, and were joined by several municipal councilors and local politicians.
“This mosque in Venice is now open to everyone thanks to the Italian constitution, which allows every citizen to pray to whichever God he wants and wherever he wants to do it,” Lafram added.
The Ucoii president said that all Muslims living in Italy want to help “create a country where everyone is respected and works for the common good.”
Aliovsky said that the new mosque has no plans to be “a closed place, open only to Muslims.”
He said: “This mosque, opened in a multicultural city visited every day by people from all over the world, will give life to many activities where everyone will be welcome. From now on, this place will be open for all, beginning with the local institutions.
“We are open to to any projects, researches and studies on Islamic culture and integration. Venice really deserves it.”