Stefano: “Why I Became Muslim and Married Bayu”

April 14, 2013

Alessia Arcolaci

Stefano, a Roman man, tells the story of his complicated love with an Indonesian woman, Bayu. In Italy, Islam is the second largest religion, with a million and a half followers. Among them, a few are Italian-born citizens: there are approximately 50,000 Italian-born converts. Among these converts is Stefano, a 39-year old photographer born and raised in Rome who is now married to 41 year old Bayu, an Indonesian woman.

Stefano in his capacity as a photographer started to work with foreign communities in Rome, the majority of which were Muslim. He says he “noticed how most of the Muslims were always calm, smiling, happy, and I began to wonder, why can’t I also be so happy? ”

Bayu and Stefano met at a party at the Indonesian embassy where Bayu’s brother worked as a diplomat. They continued to see each other in the local mosque, where Stefano was going to photograph veiled women and learn more about Islam.