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'Not in my name': Muslims hold peace rallies in Italy

November 22, 2015 01:20 IST

Hundreds of Muslims rallied in Rome and Milan on Saturday to show solidarity with the victims of jihadist attacks, condemning violence in the name of religion and chanting "we are not the enemy".

A girl holds a placard during a protest called "Not in my name" of Italian muslims against terrorism, in downtown Milan, Italy. The placard read: "I say no to violence". Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo/ Reuters

"The message is clear, terrorism cannot continue to attack everywhere in the name of Muslims. We want the whole world to listen," Abdellah Redouane, head of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Rome, said at the demonstration in the capital.

A man holds a placard during demonstration called "Not in my name" of Italian muslims against terrorism, in downtown Milan, Italy. Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo/ Reuters

"The Koran is against violence", "Islam is peace" and "Solidarity with Paris victims" read banners held up by members of the Muslim community, who gathered in the rain in a square in central Rome under a heavy police guard. 

A woman holds a placard during a demonstration called "Not in my name" of Italian muslims against terrorism, in downtown Milan, Italy. Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo/ Reuters

The rally, under the slogan "Not in my name", began with a minute's silence for the victims of the attacks on Parisian nightspots last week which left 130 people dead.

A girl holds a placard during a demonstration called "Not in my name" of Italian muslims against terrorism, in downtown Rome, Italy. The placard reads "Terrorism has no religion". Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/ Reuters

In Milan, where security has been ramped up following fears of an attack on landmarks like the famous Scala opera house, people chanted "No to Isis", referring to the Islamic State group which claimed the France attacks.

"No to terrorism, yes to mosques," said Davide Piccardo from Caim, an umbrella organisation of Islamic societies, calling for a greater understanding and openness in Italy towards moderate Islam and "a crackdown on worrying Islamophobia".

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