Despite a major Muslim protest at the Colosseum against the closure of illegal mosques, Rome police have continued shutting down so-called “garage mosques,” and now Muslims are threatening to invade Saint Peter’s Basilica to pray there.
This week, authorities closed down another makeshift mosque in Rome for failure to meet building norms and for non-compliance with safety standards, the sixth such mosque-closing in the last months.
In response, Muslims in Rome have threatened to invade the Vatican to pray in Saint Peter’s Basilica, which Italian media are calling Islamic “blackmail.”
“As many as 300 people can pray here; where will we go if it’s closed?”, said a young Muslim man identified only as “Hussein,” who works in a hardware store not from one of the “Islamic centers” that police have closed.
This center is located in the eastern suburbs, a district where half of the inhabitants are Muslims and the heart of the Islamic protest against the closure of Islamic places of worship.
“We live here, we work here, we cannot go to pray in Parioli [the other side of town],” says Anwar, the president of a neighborhood prayer hall.