Islamic Rome: Grand showpiece and quiet struggles
The Islamic presence in Italy dates to the eighth century, but it surely wasn’t till 1995 that the formally acknowledged Great Mosque of Rome opened in Parioli, a neighborhood that’s a brief hop by taxi from the Borghese Gallery. The mosque, the biggest in Europe, is a gleaming, low-slung fashionable construction that artfully bridges East and West. A fountain close to the doorway refreshes a plaza whose pavement echoes the dazzling geometry of Michelangelo’s Campidoglio, and the rows of twinned pillars resulting in the travertine-clad sanctuary recall Bernini’s monumental colonnade at St. Peter’s Square.
The inside is a examine in curving traces, with low-hanging round chandeliers ringing the central dome, intricately tiled partitions and a wealthy Persian carpet swirling throughout the ground. You enter to the sound of hen tune, you pray in a luminous rotunda, and also you emerge from the compound right into a pine and cypress grove on the fringe of upscale Parioli. Except when a practice rumbles by, it’s a lush, hushed precinct.
Maybe too hushed. Rome’s fast-growing Islamic group, lots of them immigrants from Morocco, Bangladesh, Albania or Senegal, resides on the opposite aspect of city in gritty, bustling piazzas close to the Termini rail station. For most Roman Muslims, attending Friday providers within the Great Mosque would require taking a time without work from work.
“The Great Mosque is a showpiece, a logo, a spot of satisfaction,” notes Imam Yahya Pallavicini, president of COREIS (the Italian Islamic Religious Community). “But town’s Muslim residents usually tend to pray at smaller unofficial neighborhood mosques, usually situated in personal houses or garages.” On a typical Friday on the Great Mosque, tons of collect in an area constructed for hundreds.
The problem that up to date Muslims have to find state-sanctioned Roman homes of worship brings to thoughts the plight of Rome’s first Christians. Unlike Jews and adherents of Mithras and Isis, Christians have been violently persecuted — and a few of Rome’s earliest church buildings, together with St. Peter’s, are martyriums: websites the place saints have been slain for his or her beliefs. The church buildings of Santa Sabina, Santa Prassede, Santa Pudenziana and Sant’Agnese Fuori le Mura have been additionally sanctified by struggling. With their crystalline mosaics and skinny, pure mild, these humbly elegant basilicas conjure the time when a wierd, fervent, unyielding new cult rose from the ashes of empire.
Every age, each religion, each pilgrim makes Rome sacred anew.