x

Society

Greece’s First Official Mosque Will Begin Services This Spring

February 20, 2020

ATHENS – It took years and overcoming fierce objections from nationalists and the Greek Church, but Greece’s first official mosque – paid for by the state – could start operation as soon as May.

Sources who weren’t named told Kathimerini that the mosque’s governing committee will meet soon to begin seeking bids for security, cleaning services and supplies while it’s also going to rent office space for workers and the panel members.

The bidding process is expected to take at least three months and the report said that the committee will hire three civil servants for accounting, secretarial and technical duties to help run the facility that is in the Votanikos district of the capital and can hold 300 people.

Muslims living in Greece have been conducting prayers and other services in makeshift mosques including basements and warehouses and private offices while demanding the government build them an official facility.

The mosque, approved by lawmakers in August 2016 and built in a mainly industrial area of the capital, will provide an official place of worship for the country’s Muslim immigrant community and for visitors.

“I would like to start by thanking Allah that we finally have a mosque where we can pray, we can gather, we can talk about our matters,” said Zaki Mohamed, the mosque’s imam, in June 2019 as the plans were proceeding.

Ashir Haidar, a representative of the Shia Muslim community of Greece, described the upcoming opening as “a dream come true.”

“It is a great gift from the Greek state to the Muslim community of Athens and it is a symbolic work that shows respect of the Greek state to the religion of Islam,” he said.

In March, 2019, the President of the Muslim Association Naim Elghandour, complained the 800,000-euro ($864,296) facility – the cost borne by Greek taxpayers – was too small and didn’t like it.

He told Thema 104.6 radio that the grey, boxy, nearly-windowless mosque looks more like a big kiosk than a place of worship to replace the unofficial mosques Muslims have been setting up in basements and elsewhere.

“Is this the mosque they’ve been telling us about for so many years?” Greece, he claimed, has a Muslim population of around 500,000 people, which would be some 5 percent of the country’s population.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

RELATED

THESSALONIKI - A bus driver in Thessaloniki was sentenced to 80 months in jail – suspended – after he made a 12-year-old boy step off for not wearing a mask against COVID-19, the court ruling he exposed the boy to danger.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.