'Insults and distrust' - being an imam in Milan

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Hamdy Mahisen attracted stares and insults while walking around Milan. Screengrab: La Repubblica TV
15:58 CET+01:00
An Egyptian student living in Milan, who walked around the city for five hours dressed as an imam, has released a video showing how he was insulted along the way.

Dressed in an imam’s robe and carrying a copy of the Koran, Hamdy Mahisen made the video below, published by La Repubblica, as part of a social experiment to see how tolerant people in Milan are of Muslims.

Along the way, he attracted odd stares and insults such as "Taliban shit!".

One onlooker said, "Shit, have you seen the Isis?" while another remarked, "Imagine if he has a gun under his tunic".

The experiment comes at a time of rising tensions between Italians and the country's Muslim community following deadly extremist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, as well as fears over jihadists.

Mahisen told La Repubblica that while it was not unusual for people wearing everyday clothes to stare at someone dressed uniquely, the same experience would not have attracted the same level of attention in New York or Paris.

That said, the video follows a similar experiment by a Jewish man in the French capital to highlight anti-Semitism there.

The Israeli journalist Zvika Klein told our sister site, The Local France, earlier this week that he attracted "hateful stares, belligerent remarks and hostile body language" as he walked around the city dressed in a kippah.

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Klein said his idea for the story was prompted by a report from 2013 by The Local Sweden in which a reporter donned a kippah in Malmö, a multi-cultural city with a history of anti-Semitic incidents.

Read the story here: Fear and giggles: A day as a Jew in Malmö

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