Italy: Church provides tent-mosque for Ramadan prayers
Muslims in the northern Italian town of Gallarate have been offered a white tent in the local church car park in which to observe Ramadan. The holy fasting month begins early on Wednesday and lasts until 10 September.
Gallarate's 7,000 Muslims have been fighting for a mosque since 2005, after the local council closed down several prayer halls on hygiene and security grounds.
"I am happy the church helped out again, but regrettably, we have been denied a proper mosque for years," said local Muslim leader Hamid Khartaoui.
It is the third year in a row that the church has provided a location for Muslims to mark Ramadan, claiming it hopes the gesture will foster dialogue between religions and cultures.
"Local Muslims asked us if we could provide them with a place to hold prayers and it seemed right to me that those who want to pray should have a place to do so," said the priest at Gallarate's Nazarene Church, Franco Carnevali.