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Greece: Athens – the EU capital city without a mosque


Muslims worship is often pref ormed in improvised prayer rooms in Athens. Some 300,000 Muslims are said to live in Athens.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: BBC News, Athens
By Mark Lowen | December 28, 2012

At Friday prayers and across Athens, Muslims gather in underground, cramped prayer rooms.

The makeshift facilities are illegal but this huge community faces no other option. Athens, a metropolis on the edge of the Muslim world, is one of the few EU capitals without a mosque.

Since Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832, no government has allowed a mosque to be built in the city. It was seen by many as “un-Greek” – out of place in a country in which much more than 90% of the population are Orthodox Christians.

But as Greece has become the main entry point for migrants to the EU, its Muslim population has swelled.

Some estimates place the number of Muslims in Athens alone at around 300,000, in a city with a population of around five million, and the clamour for an official place of prayer is growing.

“It is a very big tragedy for us Muslims that there is no mosque here,” says Syed Mohammad Jamil from the Pakistan-Hellenic Society.

“Greece produced democracy and civilisation and the respect of religion – but they don’t respect our Muslims to provide us with a regular, legal mosque.”

One of the Friday worshippers, Ashifaq Ahmad, says: “I feel somehow cut off from society.

“When we have a celebration, there is nowhere proper for us to get together. Society is not accepting us.”

[…more…]

Read original post here: Athens – the EU capital city without a mosque

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