EXCLUSIVE: Eid celebrations in the Great Mosque of Rome

Francesca Astorri

Published: Updated:

The celebrations for Eid Al-Adha in the Great Mosque of Rome in Italy started this morning at 8:30am. Around 30,000 worshippers are expected to gather today in the biggest Mosque of Europe with its 30,000-square-meter complex in the heart of the Eternal City.

Sermons here are held in Arabic and in Italian as the Muslim community in Italy is very much diversified.

“The Mosque of Rome is open to all the different denominations of Islam. As you can see here today for Eid we have Muslims from different cultures and traditions, from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, all dressed in different ways, all praying together,” Omar Camiletti, spokesperson of the Great Mosque of Rome and of the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy, said to Al Arabiya English.

Strength of contemporary Islam

“The non-uniformity of contemporary Islam, the fact that it brings together different facets, is also part of its strength” Camiletti added.

There are around 2 million Muslims in Italy, a community that is expected to increase, reaching 3 million people by 2030, according to Pew Research Center’s study.

The Mosque of Rome was built as an initiative of the former King of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who financed most of the project along with other 22 Arab and Islamic countries.

The project, designed by Italian and Arab architects Paolo Portoghesi and Sami Mousawi, was inaugurated in 1995.