25 July 2013
On Wednesday, the 24th of July 2013, the President of the Union of Islamic Communities of Catalonia (UCIDCAT), El Ghaidouni gave an interview on the Radio Mollet news. El Ghaidouni discussed the situation of the Al Huda Mollet del Vallés community that has been doing the prayers of the month of Ramadan in the town square as a response to the closing of its headquarters by the City Hall. The UCIDCAT President stated also that, on one hand the city must find a solution to this problem and on the other, the members of the community should assume that any proposed solution must respect the urban plan of the city. El Ghaidouni said that UCIDCAT rejected the the location of places of worship in industrial areas, because religious practice does not produce waste or chemicals.
The UCIDCAT President concluded the interview by saying “we are expecting a serious commitment from the City to resolve this conflict, and any solution should come in the next day or week.”
11 July 2013
The Al Huda Islamic Community of Mollet (circa 150 to 200 people) met for the second day in front of the City Hall to perform their daily prayers during Ramadan, as a sign of protest. The meeting place was chosen as a protest against the closure of their former local of prayers. However the City Hall representatives affirm that the place is closed due to illegal construction works performed without permission. Furthermore, they add that the place is designed to be a commercial space so it could never be used as a mosque.
The Islamic Cultural Center in Rome, also called the Rome Grand Mosque, faces desertion and abandonment although it is the biggest mosque in Italy. Despite the fact that the mosque’s large prayer hall can accommodate some 5,000 people, it remains empty except for Friday prayers and Eid celebrations. The keeper of the mosque, Ya ‘quob says that the reason for this lies in the mosque’s own administration. The Islamic Cultural Center in Rome is backed by Muslim and Arab countries which established it. “The grand mosque’s administration has forced worshippers to seek other places even if they are more distant or smaller in size,” says Samir El-Khaledi, imam of the Al-Huda mosque in Rome.
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The end of Ramadan celebration, Eid Al-Fitr, is bittersweet for Italian Muslims this year. A rise in right-wing politicians media exploitation over hot topics such as women’s clothing issues, have frustrated Muslims who would not like for their Eid festivities to be spoiled by bickering over trivialities. Samir Al-Khalidi, imam of the Al-Huda Islamic center states that there are more imminent concerns for most of Italy’s Muslims – “Muslims are focusing on issues such as mosque construction, political representation, integration and Islamophobia.”