Police in Venice cited “security hazards” Friday morning when they boarded up the doors of the Santa Maria della Misericordia Catholic Church, which had been the site of the controversial Biennale faux mosque art installation by an Icelandic artist. When the installation was inaugurated May 8, authorities warned that Christoph Büchel did not have permission to create a mosque and that it was meant as art, not a place of prayer. Despite having a large Muslim community, the canal city does not have a functioning mosque. The installation, which was designed with the help of the local Islamic community, immediately became a place of communal prayer. Authorities said they could not provide the type of adequate security necessary to patrol the area, which is not near the city’s popular venues.
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