One afternoon in 2009, over a thousand Muslims knelt before Milan's Duomo cathedral and prayed. The gesture, ostensibly about an Israeli bombing campaign, focused minds on the growing number of Muslims in Italy's business capital and their desire for a recognized place of worship.

The mosque they were calling for was never built, mainly due to red tape and administrative inertia. But, six years on, the Charlie Hebdo shootings by Islamist militants in Paris have catapulted the issue back to center stage.

"After Paris it's more urgent than ever to promote dialogue with Islam," said Milan's city manager for social policies Pierfrancesco Majorino.

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