The first performance of the play “Edoardo” written by Rahil Sarhangi was held at the Mehr Theater of the Art Bureau of the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization on Tuesday.
Speaking before the performance, director Abolfazl Eshrab said that he gave the plot to Sarhangi in February to write the play.
“None of us, not even the cast members, knew of Edoardo Agnelli. Through research, we raised our knowledge of the character of Agnelli and he attracted our attention,” he added.
Iran’s former ambassador to Rome, Mohammad-Hassan Qadiri, director of the Artbureua’s Dramatic Arts Center, Kurosh Zarei, and a group of cultural figures attended the performance.
“The life story of Edoardo Agnelli has the potential for being turned into a film or TV series,” Qadiri said.
“Portraying Agnelli’s story can encourage the followers of other religions to convert to Islam,” he added.
“Agnelli was the sole son in a wealthy and renowned Italian family. He acquired acquaintance with the Holy Quran in an American university four years before the victory of the Islamic Revolution and converted to Islam and then to Shia Islam,” he explained.
“Agnelli shot to fame after conversion to Islam, which was not acceptable to his family and relatives,” Qadiri noted.
He asked artists and filmmakers to invite people across the world by means of “the language of art” to convert to Islam.
“Edoardo” will remain on stage until July 22.
Edoardo Agnelli was the eldest child and only son of Gianni Agnelli, the industrialist patriarch of Fiat and of Marella Agnelli.
He converted to Islam when he was living in New York City, and changed his name to Mahdi. In mid-November 2000, he was found dead under a bridge on the outskirts of Turin.
As an adult, Agnelli claimed to be the heir apparent to the Fiat empire, but his father, who had already been unhappy with Edoardo’s conversion to Islam, ensured that he would not inherit it.
The only official position that the younger Agnelli held in the family businesses was as a director of Juventus F.C., in which capacity he was present at the Heysel disaster. In 1990, he was accused of heroin possession but the charges were later dropped.
Agnelli converted to Sunni Islam in an Islamic center in New York where he was named “Hisham Aziz”. He then met Imam Khomeini in Iran and was reported to have converted to Shia Islam.
According to Qadiri, Agnelli recited his shahada and became a Shia Muslim and changed his name to Mahdi.