Greece: Athens' first mosque to open this year
[DW] Greece's largest city is the only European capital without an official mosque. Despite years of opposition from the conservatives and the Orthodox Church, that's set to change later this year.
I always thought that was the difference between Greece and Turkey.
Athens' first official mosque is set to open in the coming months after a decadeslong fight for its construction by the country's minority Moslem population.
Or as an ex-president of the US would say, "Invasions have consequences."
"We hope the first prayer will be in September," said Minister of Education and Religion Kostas Gavroglou on Friday.
So maybe there isn't really a difference between Greece and Turkey.
The minister toured the nearly completed site, which is designed to accommodate some 350 people, on the outskirts of the city center with members of the local Moslem community.
Be careful what you say about Erdogan in Athens.
"Athens finally has a house of prayer for Moslems," he said, according to radio broadcaster Athens 984.
... and more to come.
Parliament approved final plans to build the mosque in 2016 in partial response to the spread of illegal sites of worship throughout Athens and the surrounding area.
Athens is the only European capital without an official mosque. Fierce opposition from Greek conservatives and the Orthodox Church has frustrated efforts to build one, despite support for the project dating back to the 1890s.
'A GREAT GIFT FROM THE GREEK STATE'
A government-appointed executive board will oversee the mosque and select its imam. Sermons will only be permitted in Greek, the ministry said, but the prayers are expected to take place in Arabic.
"I would like to start by thanking Allah that we finally have a mosque where we can pray, we can gather, we can talk," said Zaki Mohammed, who will be the mosque's first imam.
Ashir Haidar, a representative of Greece's Shia Moslem community, said the mosque was "a great gift from the Greek state to the Moslem community of Athens."
Greece repurposed or destroyed its mosques after it declared independence from the Moslem-majority Ottoman Empire in 1821. Some were later constructed near the country's border with
The Sick Man of Europe Turkey
...the only place on the face of the earth that misses the Ottoman Empire....
, where up to 150,000 Moslems live.
Posted by: trailing wife 2019-06-08