Europe sees steep spike in number of illegal mosques

The number of unofficial mosques in Rome monitored by Italy’s counter-terrorism agency has nearly doubled in the last ten years, with places of worship preaching fundamental Islamic teachings encroaching on Italian society.

WORLD APRIL 20. 2024 16:44

A new report published by Italy’s interior ministry reveals that a total of 53 unofficial Muslim prayer sites, located in basements and garages across the city, have been identified and are under surveillance for Islamist activity. This figure is up from 30 unofficial mosques a decade ago.

„These hidden places of worship are where radicalisation lurks, and where those lone wolves who have too often become martyrs of the holy war hide camouflaged among the faithful,”

the Italian Il Tempo news portal writes. There could be more than a hundred such regular meeting places for Muslims across the city. According to the report, the unofficial places of worship in warehouses and homes are classified by intelligence agencies into three levels of terrorist threat: ‘no risk’, ‘medium risk’ and ‘increased risk’.

Currently, over half of these prayer sites are being monitored because they are considered medium or high risk. Anti-terrorism operations in Italy often include surveillance of the dark web for Islamist propaganda and communications, wiretaps on suspicious premises, and the review of texts and speeches being preached by imams in the unofficial mosques.

In a recent documentary by the Italian Fuori dal Coro news programme, undercover journalists visited some of these unofficial prayer sites located around the country during the month-long Ramadan to assess the nature of the preaching and the content being shared. One journalist called at one such location in Milan where one visitor in the mosque boasted how „it is written in the Quran that we are going to kick the Jews out”.

However, these radical Islamists target not only Jews. When asked whether Muslims would soon conquer the Western world, the man replied:

“Yes, yes. The first place will be Italy because Italy is very close to Islam.”

There have been several instances recently when terror suspects have been detained in Italy, including last October when an Egyptian and an Italian citizen of Egyptian descent were accused of being members of the Islamic State. More recently, on 8 April, the Italian authorities arrested a Tajik national, a suspected member of the Islamic State’s Khorasan group, who was trying to enter the country from the Netherlands. The man was wanted by Interpol for suspected involvement in planning terrorist attacks on European territory, Remix News writes.



europe, Islam, italy