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Italy, Venice: Venice’s first mosque was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by representatives of the Italian Islamic community and the city’s institutions.

The opening of the mosque means the city – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and tourist and artistic landmark – is now a place of worship for the thousands of Muslims living in the area.

The building was bought by the local community with the zakat proceeds collected by the Muslims in Venice and the nearby industrial port of Mestre.

“I hope that from now on when tourists from all over the world come to Venice, they will take home not only a postcard of the city but also a postcard of this mosque, the Mosque of Venice,” said Yasin Lafram, president of the Islamic Community. Federation of Islamic Communities of Bologna and Italy.

“We are proud of this site, as it is further proof of our integration.”

Yasin Lafram, President of the Islamic Community of Bologna, inaugurated Venice’s first mosque, attended by Venetian Islamic Community leader Samir Aliovsky and Syrian Imam Hammad al-Mahmad. (supply)

Roberto Burton and Nandino Capivilla, representing the Catholic Archdiocese, took part in the ceremony, and many councilors and local politicians attended.

“This mosque in Venice is now open to all thanks to the Italian constitution, which allows every citizen to pray whatever God wants and where he wants,” Lafrem said.

The president of the UCOI said that all Muslims living in Italy want to “help build a country where everyone is respected and worked for the common good.”

Aliovsky said there were no plans for the new mosque to be “a closed space, open only to Muslims”.

He continued: “This mosque, opened in a multicultural city visited every day by people from all over the world, will give life to many activities where everyone will be welcome. From now on the place will be open to everyone, from local institutions to the community.

“We are open to any projects, research and studies on Islamic culture and integration. Venice really deserves it.”