A group of Italian Shia Muslim converts say that they met the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his visit to Rome to attend the global food summit organised by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Members of the Rome-based Islamic association, Imam Mahdi, released a statement on Thursday saying that a meeting with the Iranian leader took place on Tuesday.
"Several hundred people, including a delegation from the Islamic association Imam Mahdi, warmly welcomed the president of the Islamic Republic to Rome, during a friendly meeting with the Iranian community in Italy at the Hotel Cavalieri Hilton," said the statement.
The statement went on to say that the meeting took place "even as a large part of the Italian mass media did not lose time, in insulting Ahmadinejad's presence at the FAO summit with the usual lies and distortions, together with the participation of politicians from all alliances".
During the meeting, the Italian Shia Muslims felt it was their duty to differentiate between "the position of friendship and proximity of our population and the noises of groups linked to precise interests and ends".
"The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran confirmed the above mentioned considerations saying that 'I am sure that a large part of Italians are pure, sincere and good people'."
Source: AKI (English)