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Italy’s Government is Not Cool with Anti-Mosque Laws

Italy’s consitutional court is reviewing a law many consider Islamophobic.

A Muslim woman in Bari, Italy. Photo by Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar.

The federal government of our favorite country-sized pasta factory, Italy, is trying to block a set of regulations dubbed by the media as “anti-mosque” laws, which would make it extremely difficult to construct any new mosques in the region of Lombardy. Although the laws do not explicitly reference mosques, the measure limits the construction of insitutions of worship for religions that are not recognized by the state. Although the government has signed agreements recognizing 11 different religious groups, Islam is not one of them—which is shocking, considering how popular Muslims in Europe are right now.

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A Women-Only Mosque Congregates in Los Angeles For the First Time

The Women’s Mosque of America appears to be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Edina Lekovic address the Women's Mosque of America.

Inside the stain-glassed windows of the Pico-Union Project, a multi-faith synagogue in East Los Angeles, the pews were pushed to the side, against the walls, and long strips of cloth were spread out on the floors. These would serve as prayer mats for the hundred or so Muslim women congregants who would fill the room for the first ever Friday prayer at the Women’s Mosque of America.

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The First Woman Known to Design a Mosque

Zeynep Fadillioglu is Turkey’s interior design star.

Şakirin Mosque in Istanbul

Turkey is home to more than 82,600 mosques and they’re all designed by men—except one, the Şakirin mosque in Istanbul, co-created by 59-year old Turkish interior designer Zeynep Fadillioglu, perhaps the first woman ever to design a mosque. The mosque, the exterior of which was designed by architect Husrev Tayla, features a 130-foot diameter dome and iron and glass facades. Fadillioglu’s interior designs of the mosque reveal a significant awareness of the women’s spaces—in the Şakirin mosque, the women’s section equals the men’s in both size and ornamentation. “I positioned them on the upper balcony, because during prayer the women must be behind the men," she told CNN. "But I also decided to make the balcony level one of the most beautiful areas, with the chandelier crystal droplets just in front, and where you can see the mihrab [an alcove pointing towards Mecca] from the best angle." Fadillioglu also enlisted the skills of other woman artists, like Nahide Buyukkaymakci, whose blown-glass rain drops hang from the chandelier at the Şakirin mosque.

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