Panel Picks Moroccan as Imam for Athens’ First Official Mosque

April 3, 2019

ATHENS – Wit the government going ahead with construction of the Greek capitals’ – and country’s – first official mosque, an administrative committee that will run it has nominated Moroccan-born Zaki Mohammed as its candidate for imam.

The name of the respected cleric who holds Greek citizenship,  is the father of two children and who is an imam at one of the five makeshift prayer rooms in Athens that have received permits from the state was sent to Education Minister Costas Gavroglou, said Kathimerini.

He came to Greece about 25 years ago, speaks Arabic, Greek and French and has studied theology and mathematics. His nomination was unanimous, with the paper saying he is held in high esteem in the community.

He was selected after the panel checked his qualifications and conducted a personal interview, it was said.

The mosque, the first in the Greek capital since the end of the Ottoman occupation, is expected to open its doors soon after the April 28 Orthodox Easter celebration, in time for the holiday period of Ramadan which begins March 6.

The mosque, in the Votakinos neighborhood, is being paid for by the government during a long-running economic crisis and will be open from half an hour before the first prayer and up to half an hour after the last, while it will operate on a 24-hour basis during Ramadan and other holidays. Crews are working to finish the outdoor area, a fountain and plants.

The Athens area has some 250,000 Muslims and about 70 unauthorized prayer rooms in basements, warehouses and other makeshift area. The construction of the mosque has been plagued by delays and protests by far-right and religious groups, including the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn which has threatened violence against it.

It has cost some 800,000 euros ($898,804) but Naim Elghandour, President of the Muslim Association has complained it’s too small. He told Thema 104.6 radio earlir 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?” He said that the mosque, which will have no minarets or loudspeakers, will fit just 300 men and 50 women. Greece, he claimed, has a Muslim population of around 500,000 people, which would be some 5 percent of the country’s population.

The 1,000-square meter facility will include a worship area for 300 men, a worship area for 50 women, auxiliary rooms, an office for the imam and an office for the muezzin.


ATHENS - It doesn't look like the summer of 2021, when hundreds of wildfires blazed across Greece and caught the New Democracy government's response unaware at points, but 56 broke out on July 2, with worry more are coming.

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.


TNΗ’s Happenings of the Week by Eraklis Diamataris

NEW YORK – The National Herald’s Happenings of the Week as have been reported at the print and digital editions of TNH and presented by the TNH Editor Eraklis Diamataris.

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.