Excerpt:

Plans to build an Islamic university for 5,000 students in a small town in Italy's heel will help change attitudes towards Muslims, organizers say. But many locals are afraid that it will change the character of Lecce - and are asking who's paying for it.

Carrying a shoulder bag full of books about African culture, Diokhane Ibrahima has come to the centre of Lecce on a damp Saturday morning to meet Giampiero Palladini, the Italian businessman hoping to bring what would be Europe's first Islamic University to the city.

Ibrahima, from Senegal, has lived in Italy for 17 years, the last five of which have been in Lecce, a historic walled city in the heart of Puglia's Salento region with a bustling student community.


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