The Italian Constitution enacts the right to worship on its own whole territory, but the right to have places of worship is independent. So the case of Muslims in Italy has become emblematic and mostly crucial in Rome.
The Muslim presence in Rome began in the mid-1990s, thanks to the inauguration of the Great Mosque in 1995. Despite this it should be said that the building is not enough to accommodate Muslims living in the Capital. According to Caritas and the Roman Observatory data on immigration, approximately 120.000 Muslims live in Rome.
The case of Rome is emblematic because of the lack of worship buildings: Muslims gather to pray in places of worship that are not Mosques, but shops, basements, Islamic centers. In the twenty years following the inauguration of the Great Mosque not regulated places of worship have arisen to meet Muslim people prayer needs in different areas of the city, from the suburbs to the center: Alexandria, Appio Latino, Piazza Vittorio and so on. These worship location are temporary and hidden spaces, between private salons and garages, not always suitable to ensure safety and not in accordance with the law.
Last Fall, the closing of some abusive locations led to a protest, culminating for the first time in a public prayer held by thousands of Muslim under the Colosseum.
The municipality intervened several times by imposing seals in these places without finding a proper solution. Plus, the government has sent back to the municipalities the issue of buildings used as places of worship.
Ulixes Picture’s reportage is a narrative mapping of the places of Islam in Rome: a journey that tells the spaces and places of Islamic religion in Rome, from the great Mosque to the abusive basement. The workgives us all the spiritual strength through the images of Graziano Panfili and Raffale Petralla , whose reportage well represents the contrast between the inner praying spaces and the outside locations, the Roman suburbs, as the strength of the second religion in the world that expands in Rome, the city of the Pope.
Investigation and Words > Sara Muscogiuri