Chief rabbi of Rome visits main mosque

Rome's chief rabbi visited the main mosque in the Italian capital Monday - the city's first chief rabbi ever to do so - in a move that has drawn praise from Jewish and Muslim leaders. Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni was met by Abdellah Redouane, secretary-general of the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy, and Mario Scialoja, the president of the Muslim World League in Italy, who gave him a tour of the mosque. "This is a great occasion that should be repeated wherever different religions are coexisting so that we can get to know each other and experience dialogue," Di Segni said. Redouane thanked Di Segni for his visit, which came after the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in Italian and other newspapers worldwide. The drawings touched off violent protests that killed dozens of people in Muslim countries. Islam widely holds that representations of Muhammad are banned, for fear they could lead to idolatry. "We are not surprised that such a gesture of solidarity comes from the Jewish community, who has been dealt so many blows," Redouane said. The 12 drawings were first published in a Danish newspaper in September, and earlier this year were reprinted in publications in Europe and elsewhere.