Minister Opposes Islamic Studies

THESSALONIKI – Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Giorgos Orfanos said he doesn’t want a department of Islamic Studies at the Theological School of the Aristotle University here.

Orfanos said that it would be wrong to mix the study of Orthodox faith with “something else.”

“Such decisions should not be made unilaterally, but only after negotiations,” said Orfanos adding that Greece ought to get something in return if plans to create the department were to go ahead.

Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris has been pushing for greater recognition of Muslims and Turkish influence in Greece’s second-largest city and the government is moving ahead with plans to build an official mosque in Athens.

Critics though say that the government and officials are giving in too easily and that it should draw a harder line, particularly with Turkey, which has said it will turn the Agia Sophia Orthodox Church in Constantinople into a mosque.