Interview: Samir, vice-responsable of the Mosque of Marghera
A mosque in Venice is something quite hard, but not impossible and surely money is not a problem. In Venice, there are churches and synagogues, Venice is a well-known and multiethnic city and Muslims have always been part of this place. We don’t expect a mosque in the heart of Venice, it would be such a dream: it would be enough to have something in the land. Maybe this could be a new challange for the tourism too. Muslims haven’t problems in living all together with Venetian community Most of the brothers praying in the mosque are actually living and working in Venice and Venetians always keep in touch with Muslims too. Maybe there could be opposition at the beginning but then, there shouldn’t be any problems. A mosque near a church is still not a problem: I come from Turkey where churches, synagogues and mosques both do exists close to each others. Here in Padova, there’s a mosque near a church: at first some problems occurred, altrough, now everybody feels like brothers. Trends say that, during the meeting with the Authority, Muslims in Veneto were about 10.000 and there’s lack of spaces. There’s no critical need but, in my opinion, Venice merits a mosque.
I prayed there four or five times in a basement under the church. I’ve heard on TV that the chief-priest of Treviso forced the priest to deny the permission of using the space. That’s really absurd: for me, praying with Christians isn’t absolutely a matter and if there’s the chance to give spaces, it’s illogical not to allow them to pray once a week, it’s a shame. Then there’s no reason to behave like that and I’m sure the chief-priest knew this fact for many months. Journals say that it’s all fault of the authorities that persuaded the chief-priest to bid these things to the priest. I heard that journals like Al Jazira where interested in this news. Strange but true: authorities suddenly offered a big space to pray to make a good impression to Al Jazeira. Luckily televisions didn’t come in the end. Later they decided to give the Muslim with a different place in different towns near Treviso each Friday: this made impossible to know previously where the pray was supposed to be celebrated. In fact that system worked just for four or five times. One of my brothers told me that some other Muslims went to pray in a public square in and police forced them to go away and to pay a penalty.
I don’t see scared faces but a lot of diffidence and bad information: looking at the journals it seemed like it should happen something upsetting. In the reality nothing happened. We live and work with Italians and nobody has problems. An Imam from Asterdam was upset because the mayor didn’t send anyone to keep clean the mosque. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London, Berlin and even Paris are spread-minded city and they actually host mosques. People that release this kind of false news have not to be considered because are propagandists or just ignorants.