The Muslim Association of Greece welcomed today the next step of the government for the construction of a mosque in Athens just a few days after the government said it was issuing a tender for the construction of capital’s first state mosque as plans to build an official mosque have been stalled for more than a decade.
“The Muslim Association of Greece welcomes the next step of the government for the construction of a mosque in Athens, “ the association said in a statement.
“We believe that our country will be able to recognize the necessity of religion to all the citizens, as these are messages we have been receiving all these years since 2006 during our collaboration with relevant bodies topped by the Ministry of Education. The mosque in Athens will be a place of Greek Muslims can pray or to visit anyone.”
The construction of the mosque puts an end to the critics against Greece for leaving its 300,000 Muslims to pray in more than 120 basements and garages in Athens.
The mosque will have no minaret, in order to adopt to the surrounding environment and it will be built in Votaniko. The project was designed by the architectural bureau of Alexandros Tombazis that has created some of the most beautiful mosques in the world.
“We also want to emphasize that the idea of a pure state mosque in Athens was our solid and constant demand form the beginning, as we have aimed to live equally, independently and with respect to our country, although at times we have read that belong to other countries. These reports intend to disorient and take advantage of the crisis that has brought chaos. They are hate fireworks with ulterior motives. But it is always one-sided hatred and characterizes those who feed it.”
“The mosque issue is a matter of fairness and humanity, values that are non-negotiable for Greece, and should not be associated with the immigration policy, or with the relations between Greece and other countries.”
However, as the Greek government readies to build the country’s first official mosque, the Council of State is to hear today an appeal against the project by Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus who says he doesn’t want muslims to have a sanctioned place of worship. The bishop’s appeal has been backed by a philosophy professor at the University of Athens, two doctors at the Athens Naval Hospital and a cultural association based in Votanikos, where the mosque is to be built, and five local residents.
Athens is the only European capital without an official mosque.