Greek Group Appeals Against Plans to Build Athens Mosque

Today’s Zaman, January 4, 2012

A group of Greeks that includes bishops, academics and military officers have appealed against a parliamentary bill that will allow the construction of a mosque in the Greek capital.

According to the Greek press, a petition submitted to the Council of State in December was signed by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, as well as a university professor, naval officers and five residents of the area in which the mosque is planned to be built. The appeal argues that the construction of a mosque would be in violation of the constitution and harmful for national unity. It also cites the high cost of the building project in the face of Greece’s financial crisis.

Known for his far-right views, Seraphim said the bill constituted an anti-Christian action and described it as disrespectful to Christian martyrs. He went on to condemn the Greek parliament for approving such a bill.

The controversial bill was passed in 2006 under the New Democracy party government. Renewed debate over the construction of the mosque began in November after the former Papandreou government made a commitment to complete the project by spring 2012, according to the Greek press.

Although the municipal government of Athens gave the permission required for the mosque to be constructed in 2006, the project remains unfinished due to ongoing resistance. Navy officers have refused to vacate a disused naval base in Athens’ Votanikos district, where the mosque is planned to be built.

Athens is unique among the capital cities of the original 15 member states of the EU in that it does not have a dedicated mosque. Until now, Muslims in Greece have been worshipping in makeshift mosques in basement apartments, coffee shops, garages and old warehouses.

Debate over the construction of a mosque in Athens is not unprecedented. Several resolutions on this issue have been discussed by the Greek parliament since 1939 and a further, draft bill was approved in 2000. However, Muslims in Athens have not enjoyed access to a dedicated mosque due to opposition by the church and previous governments. The cost of the project is estimated to reach up to 16 million euros, according to the 2006 parliamentary bill.

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  • Bardon Kaldian

    Europe is fed up with Islam, that’s all. 

  • Anonymous

    What this story only glances over is the fact that Greece was only liberated from centuries of muslim domination due to a great deal of bloodshed and sacrifice from the Greek people.
     During the centuries of muslim domination, orthodox Greeks were marginalized and stigmatized, but despite this Greeks kept their faith in spite of hostility and overwhelming force.
      It is for this reason that the construction of mosques on Greek soil was expressly forbidden since the time of Greek liberation and independence.
     Now we have a Greece ruined not only economically and politically but morally too.

  • ArthurLincoln

    I would welcome living in Athens if this project is cancelled.

  • Anonymous

    Instead of protesting mosques one should expel all muslims AND MAKE CONVERSION TO iSLAM ILLEGAL.  Muslims make  CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY A CAPITAL CRIME.  I COUILD BE CONVINCESD TO EXECUTE CONVERTS TO ISLAm.  Islam is radical EVIL.

  • GM (Australia)

    I am not sure if this comment will post as I do not think my computer supports the new AR comments format:

    I will first mention the obvious comparisons such as why is it impossible to build a church in Mecca and why is there no international outcry about the persecution ofo Christians and torching of church buildings in evey Islamic country one cares to mention.

    We then look at the unique place that Greece occupies in the history of Christianity, it was the first country in Europe to receive the Gospel when Paul took the message to Philipi. He then continued to take the message of love peace and forgiveness to all the other major cities in Greece including Athens. A visitor to Athens today can still stand on the exact spot when Paul preached his message to the wise men of Athens. Now 2000 years later it is pleasing to see this same wisdom in the rejection of a mosque in the very heartland of ancient Christianity.

     Years later the sword of Islam came with conquest and destruction with the Muslim Turk occupation of that nation only finishing in 1822. I understand ethnic population exchanges between Turkey and Greece have continued till as recently as the 1970s. Even now there seems to be total fear and suspicion of anything Turkish and Islamic among most Greeks that I come into contact with. In other words the Greeks have every right to fear, reject and oppose this mosque.

    • Anonymous

      Well I cannot say that I agree with your interpretations regarding christianity, I judge
      the Greeks from a different perspective, their philosofers, democracy and their
      general bad ass attitude regarding invaders, it took an another badass to get them
      to surrender namely SS-obergruppenfuhrer Sepp Dietrich.

  • Anonymous

    Greece is in a terrible mess: 
    Officially, Greece has a Muslim population of around 500,000, mostly of Turkish origin. But in recent years, tens of thousands of Muslims have migrated to Greece from Africa, the Maghreb [North Africa], the Middle East and Central and Southeast Asia.Many of the estimated 200,000 Muslims living in Athens are illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan. It is now estimated that Greece – – which is the number one gateway for illegal immigration to Europe -– has an illegal immigrant population of around 2 million; this in a country where the total population is only 11 million.

  • Anonymous

    The first thought that came to my mind was that it denigrated the important and indispensable contributions of Ancient Greece to Western thought and democracy.  Since the Orthodox Church was founded there, it is a historic fact and it is not incorrect to guess that what Muslims seek to do is combat Christianity.  The Christians attacked and pulled down the ancient Greek temples over 1500 years ago, and felt that the earthquakes that finished the job was God’s hand confirming their faith.  However, enough damage is enough.  Since then, the Orthodox Christians have been good custodians of Greece, not engaging in the sorts of wars and purges that say, the The Roman Catholic Church did in Western Europe, even if Greece never recovered its former greatness under it.  It is recognized that the aim of Islam everywhere is to pull down every vestige of nation and culture that is not Islamic and make populations its servants.