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article imageNGO's cite opposition to mosque building as Islamaphobic

By Katerina Nikolas     Apr 3, 2013 in World
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) has called on the EU to recognise Islamophobia as a specific form of racism. ENAR claims that opposition to mosque building projects is a sign of hatred towards Muslims and is a manifestation of Islamophobia.
The construction of new mosques across Europe has become a political hot potato. Cultural objections to often controversial mosque building projects are now slammed as a manifestation of Islamophbia by ENAR's Sarah Isal.
NEurope reported Isal claims "increasingly hatred against Muslims in Europe manifests itself as opposition to, as well as protests against, the building of mosques and property damage to Islamic places of worship."
Yet western governments have accommodated the demand for mosques to be constructed, in contrast to the absolute ban on the construction of churches in the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia. The highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah decreed it is "necessary to destroy all the churches of the region." (Israel National News)
On April 3 the Greek government offered the construction of the state sponsored Votanikos mosque in Athens, for tender. The planned mosque has both proponents and objectors. As Digital Journal reported the mosque, which will cost an estimated $1.1 million, is a burden on the taxpayer and will be used by many immigrants who are in the Greek capital illegally.
According to Xryshaygh "Its construction causes significant reactions from both local residents who already prepare their protests" and "some priests of the church."
The Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus (Orthodox Greek Church) told the BBC "Greece suffered five centuries of Islamic tyranny under the Turkish yoke and construction of the mosque would insult witnesses who liberated us."
Greeks who object to the building of the mosque will now be labelled as islamaphobic, a new label to add to the constant cries of xenophobia which are hurled by the left when the issue of illegal immigration is raised. Yet the church leader who objects to the mosque is far less dogmatic than Saudi's Islamic leader who opposes all churches.
It is not just in Greece that objections to mosque building are rife, though Athens remains the only one of the EU original 17 nations to not yet cater to Muslim worshippers. In Germany, German-Turkish sociologist Necla Kelek opposes the building of mosques, saying "like the headscarves worn by Muslim women, they are a 'visible political statement' and present 'obstacles to integration.'"
Controversy over the issue in Switzerland resulted in a minaret ban. In November 2012 plans for a mega mosque in Marseilles were abruptly scrapped by the court. Some of the objections to mosque building come from those wary of the spread of Wahhabism and sharia law, and the encroachment of political Islam on western values. Some object to the five-times daily disturbance of calls to prayer, just as they would object to the sound of church bells clanging on their doorsteps.
The attempt to define objections to mosque building as Islamaphobic are an attempt to once again brow-beat free speech into submission. The EU has not yet succumbed to the cries of ENAR.
More about islamaphobia, Mosques, Hate crime, European Network Against Racism, Sarah Isal
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