The imam of Rome’s mosque has called off a first-ever visit to the city’s synagogue, which had been hailed as a historic step in inter-faith dialogue between Italian Muslims and Jews. The synagogue’s rabbi expressed concern over what he called alarming signals from Egypt pointing to opposition to the visit among Islamic scholars because of the recent blockage of the Gaza strip. Italian newspapers said the Rome imam, Ala Eldin al Ghobashy, had been contacted by al-Azhar University, and had been advised against the visit. Muslim leaders in Rome denied intervention from Egypt, and instead cited logistical problems, and that the visit had not been cancelled, but delayed.
Ala Eldin Mohammed Ismail al-Ghobaishy, the imam of Rome’s mosque, will visit Rome’s synagogue at the end of January. Chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, Rome’s Jewish community president Leone Paserman, and vice president Riccardo Pacifici will receive the Muslim delegation at the synagogue, which follows Di Segni’s visit to the Rome mosque last year – the first ever by a Rabbi.