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ROME: A politician in Italy said on Wednesday that he will ask the country’s parliament to recognize Eid Al-Fitr as a national holiday.

As Muslims around Italy celebrated the end of Ramadan, Aboubakar Soumahoro, formerly of the Green and Left Alliance, but now an independent, said that he planned to bring a bill proposing the move to the Chamber of Deputies.

“Today, Islam is the second religion in Italy. We need to recognize, update, adapt, and harmonize the laws of our country with the current and renewed reality. Italy has changed, enriching itself with plurality, also from a religious point of view. Long live plural Italy,” he posted to his Instagram.

Muslims all over Italy have begun celebrating Eid, with representatives of the Roman Catholic church and various city councils joining the festivities. 

Thousands of Muslims in Palermo, where the Islamic community numbers roughly 25,000, held early-morning prayers at the Foro Italico, a vast open-air area facing the sea.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, archbishop of Bologna and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, sent a message to the Islamic community, wishing “Muslim brothers and sisters in Italy to be well throughout the year.”

He added: “Being good neighbors means wishing each other well. Every blessing comes from God, Almighty and Merciful, and we can share it, as good stewards, firstly through prayer, and then through acts of kindness. Wishing well for the whole year means collaborating in building this goodness day by day.” 

Prayers in Palermo were led by Bedri El-Madani, the imam of the mosque of Piazza Gran Cancelliere, which before 1998 was a Catholic church and was donated to the Islamic community by Salvatore Pappalardo, the late Cardinal of Palermo.

A representative of the mayor of Palermo also gave his best wishes to the Islamic community.

In Turin, the second-largest city in Italy’s industrial north, Mayor Stefano Lo Russo greeted thousands of Muslims at the end of the prayer in the Parco Dora.

“Turin is a great workshop of dialogue, a vast human laboratory that has built its identity through the encounter of cultures and religions, not clashes. We want to continue in this direction,” he said.

“When people from diverse cultures meet, they must learn to understand each other, and make a collective effort to live together and build a better city. That’s what we are doing all together.”

A large crowd also gathered in Naples to celebrate the end of Ramadan, with prayers in the Piazza del Plebiscito attended by City Commissioner for Youth and Labor, Chiara Marciani, and Prefect Michele Di Bari.

“Participation in this celebration is a sign of respect for a large community living in our city, needing more integration into our activities with the attention and respect that all our fellow citizens deserve,” Marciani said.

Amar Abdallah, the Imam of the mosque on Corso Arnaldo Lucci, addressed hundreds of faithful gathered in Piazza Garibaldi, reminding them that “Naples is a city where dialogue has always triumphed.”

According to most recent surveys, Muslims make up 2-4 percent of the Italian population, while Catholics make up 75-80 percent, and atheists or agnostics about 15 percent.