Steps from the immense colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, Sarwar Jahan stood next to his souvenir stand. A dark, clean-shaven man wearing a navy blue jacket and a black knit cap, Jahan is one of the legions of peddlers selling trinkets of the new Pope Francis to tourists and pilgrims.
Like many of his fellow street merchants, Jahan is neither a Catholic nor a natural-born Italian. He’s a Muslim who moved to Rome from Bangladesh in search of work.
In a country dominated by Roman Catholics, Muslims make up Italy’s second-largest religious group. A Pew study estimated that more than 1.5 million Muslims live in Italy, a number projected to double by 2030.