Just under 1.5 million Muslims live in Italy, and they have eight mosques to pray in. One is located in Sicily, one in Milan, and one in Rome, but none are found in the northeastern region of Italy, where the political party Lega Nord frequently holds many anti-Islam campaigns. The rest of the country’s Muslims pray in converted spaces – warehouses, abandoned buildings, garages, or old factories. Many of these spaces are unmarked, and do not have a minaret, a minbar, or anything to distinguish them from surrounding buildings.
The situation of migrants in Italy, as in many other countries, is precarious. Italy has seen a huge influx of migrants from North Africa, as well as many more who come from other countries, but pass through Tunisia and Libya on their way to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. Many migrants die in the Mediterranean crossing, but for those who arrive safely in Italy, there are few resources – the unprecedented numbers of migrants arriving has put a strain on humanitarian resources.
Photographer Nicoló Degiorgis lives in northeastern Italy and set out to document the spaces that Italian Muslims have carved out for themselves. His new book shows these converted prayer spaces, from inside and outside. Each page folds out – the outer photo shows the exterior of a space – often a dingy warehouse, a garage, or a community center – and the inside of the folds show the interior – a makeshift mosque for locals searching for a place to pray. The simplicity of these images is beautiful. See more photos here.