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Secret mosques scattered within the Greek capital

31 May 2009 / 19:05:06  GRReporter
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Last week’s events, as well as the lack of reaction on part of the government for a long time, reveal the dead end that the politics towards immigrants has reached. The authorities’ mistakes and inactivity, in combination with supporting the radical-right and racist organizations, have created the conditions for an extremely tense situation at Athens downtown.


As of this moment, 26 organized mosques- Arab and Asian, and about 30 premises where the Muslims can pray every day exist in Athens. Some of those premises support themselves through the financial assistance of the community members; others are subsidized by the Union of the Muslims in Greece and other unions, while some receive the financial support of private persons.


Besides the premises where the religion is being practiced, a mosque was opened in an Athens central hotel, as well as, in order to meet the students’ needs, in the Theological department of the University of Athens.


Four of the organized Islamic locations are supported by the Pakistan community, ten by the Bangladeshis, and another ten by the Arabs, where also Muslims, independently of their nationality, can meet. The best maintained mosque is in the neighborhood of Moshato, financed by a Saudi Arabia businessman, and governed by members of the Greek-Arab education center.


The imams in those mosques are not more than 40 but here as well lawlessness is observed, since the imams working outside of Thrace are not recognized by the Greek state. In practice, every Muslim community has its own imam, also an immigrant, graduated, however, from a theological school. He is elected by the community and receives an approval from the embassy and is paid directly by some of the unions or with the money collected within the community.


According to a law dating back in 1939, in order for a priest of a religion other than the orthodox to enter the Greek state, a permission is needed by the Minister of education and religion, as well as the Minister of foreign policy. Although this law is not being strictly applied, most imams enter the country without declaring their profession.


A scientific survey shows that: “The Muslims show discontent because of the lack of respect of the way Greeks treat their religion and culture.” If we add the fact that a poll on the public opinion conducted by Pew Global Aptitude Project reveals that the Muslims in Europe perceive themselves first as Muslims and then as citizens, it is obvious that the Greek state needs to do some serious changes.


 

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