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article imageAthens approves new mosque in the city

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 8, 2011 in World
The Greek Parliament has approved controversial plans to build a new mosque in the capital of Athens to cater for the increasing demands of the Muslim population.
The long running argument regarding the construction of a mosque in Athens, Greece, has ended with Parliamentary approval for the building to go ahead. Until now Greece has remained the only original E.U. member state to not cater for its increasing Muslim population.
The border crossing with Turkey has become a first port of call for many illegal immigrants seeking entry to Europe. The resultant Muslim population has been forced to make alternative arrangements for worship to the mosque they have been demanding.
Despite vehement objections from many who oppose a mosque in the strictly Orthodox country, approval has been granted for a mosque to be built in Elaionas, an industrial district of Athens. However the mosque will be completed without the adornment of minarets.
The only political party to oppose the measure in Parliament was Laos, whose leader Giorgos Karatzeferis accused the government of creating “a laboratory for the production of terrorists in the centre of Athens.”
Following four centuries of Ottoman occupation many Greeks opposed the returning signs of Muslim culture. When the Ottoman’s left Athens in 1832 the remaining mosques were no longer used for worship but only as tourism sites.
Greece turned down a previous offer from Saudi Arabia to fund the building of a mosque in the capital city and may now be forced to pay for the construction from the cash strapped public purse. A mosque was first approved in 2006 but fell by the wayside as the plans proved too controversial.
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