The author is the Iranian expat and Palermo-based Minoo Mirshahvalad, an established academic researcher with a vast portfolio of publications on Islamic law and Iran's history.
Mirshahvalad's work was carried out in the span of three years in 13 different Italian cities, mostly in the north of Italy, where the bulk of the Shia communities reside.
Immigrants from Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent are very active in social events and religious rituals, such as the large Ashura ceremony in front of the Milan central station. However, also political activism is widespread particularly among Shias living in Rome, with events organized in solidarity with the assassinated top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
About 2.5 million Muslims are living in Italy, making Islam the country’s second largest religion. However, unlike Christianity and Judaism, Islam is not formally recognized, meaning that mosques cannot receive public financial support, Islamic marriages have no legal force and Muslim workers are not entitled to take days off for religious festivities.
Mirshahvad's research book also examines how Shia religious leaders in Italy interact with Shia religious authorities in a diasporic context.