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Italy's Muslims count!

by Francesco Tutino last modified 2008-06-20 15:13


IslamMuslims in Italy
There are 500,000 Muslim immigrants currently resident in Italy, making up 1% of the total population.
Most of the Muslims in Italy were born in Morocco, Albania, Tunisia, Senegal and Egypt.
25,000 Italian citizens have converted to Islam.
719,000 Muslims are resident in Italy.

In Europe: there are 9,500,000 Muslims throughout Europe, for a total 2.6 % of the population. With 3.5 million in France (5.9% of the population) and 2.2 million in Germany.
There are an estimated 1,200,000,000 people of Muslim origin or culture throughout the world. According to USA Department of State figures no more than 5% of all Muslims are fundamentalists.
The many faces of Islam
There are at least 10 main branches of Islam in practice in Italy. Islam is a pluralist religion which is based on the relationship between the believer and God (Allah). There are no clergy or central religious authorities in Islam.

What Italy's Muslims think
of Muslim immigrants think women should be allowed to choose whether to wear a veil or not.
30% of Muslims interviewed in Italy are non-practising or lay, with only 50% of Muslims regularly attending a place of worship.
1.5% of Muslim immigrants have more than one wife. Polygamy is tolerated but not encouraged in Islam.

There are 214 Islamic places of worship, mainly in Northern Italy (60.7%). They are mostly humble unimposing structures.
Only 3 of these are large mosques.
In 1980 Italy's first mosque was officially opened in Catania (Sicily) thanks to Libyan backing.
In 1988 Al Rahaman Mosque was opened in Segrate (Milan) by Muslim immigrants and converts.
In 1995 Europe's largest mosque was opened in Monte Antenne in Rome. Building was largely financed by Saudi Arabia.
Article 8
According to Article 8 of the Italian Constitution all religions and creeds have the right to be freely practised. All relations between religion and State are governed by law based on agreements between representatives of the religion and the Italian state.
The Italian State has reached formal agreements with 10 religions which include Catholicism but not Islam. This means that in most parts of Italy it is forbidden to use the Islamic burial ritual when someone dies.

From: R. Gritti, M. Allam, "Islam, Italia", Guerini e Associati, May 2001

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