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Europe

Fear of Terrorism in Italy

60 000 Muslims live in Milan. There is concern that Muslim communities may be harbouring potential terrorists.

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Five times a day the Muezzin summons devout Muslims to prayer and Mohamed Pietro Danova stops work. Mohamed, who was born in Morocco, has lived in Milan for 15 years. He is an active member of the local Islamic community.

Few people come to prayers on weekdays as it is hard to get time off work.

Their chilly assembly room is in a former warehouse. They don't have a proper mosque, therefore the five Islamic communities in Milan have to improvise.

"There are 60 thousand Muslims living in the city. As well as our children, who we want to be associated with our beliefs. But we don't have the means to keep up our religion and traditions as we'd like. Unfortunately we don't receive any financial help from the Italian state or the city of Milan," Businessman Mohamed Pietro Danova says.

Immigrants from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria are clearly visible on the streets of the North Italian city. They have their own telephone bureaux, travel agencies and butchers.

It has taken a lot of Italians a long time to get used to this, but slowly they are beginning to realise that Italy has long become home to an immigrant population.

The CIA suspects that Osama Bin Laden received support from Milan and now many Italians suspect the city's Islamic community has been harbouring terrorists. The Muslims refuse to accept this generalised accusation.