The first mosque in the Greek capital, Athens, has opened after 14 years of wrangling and bureaucratic delays. The mosque’s inaugural prayers were held yesterday evening under physical distancing measures due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Greece.
With the opening, Athens shakes off its status as the only European Union capital to lack a mosque. The mosque’s first imam is Zaki Mohammed, a Greek citizen of Moroccan origin. Opposition from the Greek Orthodox Church had delayed the opening of the mosque since 1979.
It took years even after the government gave the go-ahead in 2006. Since then the construction was held up by bureaucratic hurdles, protests by far-right groups, and legal challenges. There is a Muslim minority in Greece, concentrated along the land border with Turkey, and tens of thousands of Muslim workers and refugees live in the country.
Header image: Greek City Times