Naim El-Ghandour, 57, an Egyptian born Muslim who heads the Muslim Union of Greece, was speaking at a conference arranged in Athens on Friday, to criticize the provocative film "Innocence of Muslims" that has provoked violent outrage in Islamic nations.
El-Ghandour vented his anger against Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Ekathimerini
reported he said "The prime minister is a racist. I live in a country, where the prime minister is a racist. I am basing this on the election campaign he ran, during which he labeled us conquerors.”
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou was quick to respond. Keep Talking Greece
reported he released a statement saying: "Obviously, this gentleman deliberately and defamatory misinterprets the statements by the Prime Minister, concerning illegal migrants, regardless of religion. We want to remind him that he must respect the Prime Minister and the laws of the country that hosts him.” The government is addressing the issue of illegal migrants irrespective of religion.
El-Ghandour also sent a warning that harsh treatment of undocumented migrants could backfire. Currently the government is arresting and detaining illegal immigrants in Operation "Xenios Zeus", with a view to deporting them. Greece is overwhelmed by the number of illegal migrants entering the country each year. El-Ghandour warned
“It’s very dangerous to have migrants who are hungry, exhausted, without any future. It is like a ticking time-bomb. We should not put any more pressure on it.”
El-Ghandour has been vocal in campaigning
for a mosque to be built in Athens at the expense of the bankrupt Greek government. Many Greeks are opposed to the idea in the strictly Orthodox country which suffered four centuries of Ottoman occupation. Last September Parliament voted in favor of the construction of an Athens mosque