ATHENS - Accelerating their hostile campaigns against Muslims, A neo-Nazi party has threatened to fight against plans to build a long-sought mosque in the Greek capital.
"If a mosque is constructed for Islamist criminals in Greece, a front of 100,000 Greeks headed by Golden Dawn will be created," Ilias Kasidiaris, spokesman for the far-right Golden Dawn party, told supporters at a rally late on Sunday, May 19, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Greek Muslims have long called for building a grand mosque in Athens to accommodate the religious needs of the growing Muslim minority.
Despite objections from its powerful Orthodox Church, Greece had pledged to build a mosque in Athens to serve the city's growing Muslim minority.
But the crunching economic crisis, coupled with public enmity associating mosques with the Ottoman presence, has prevented the pledge from being translated into action.
Decked with minarets two centuries ago, Athens has not had a functioning mosque since the end of Ottoman rule in the early 1800s.
About 130 windowless, airless basements or warehouses in Athens currently serve as makeshift mosques for an estimated 200,000 Muslims in the Greek capital.
Tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants perform prayers in private homes and have had to travel hundreds of kilometers to northern Greece for weddings, burials and other ceremonies.
The Orthodox Church has for years insisted that Greeks were not ready to see a minaret in downtown Athens.
The threat came days after the far-right party has given a one-month ultimatum for Muslims to leave Greece or they will be slaughtered like chickens.
The Muslim Association of Greece said it has received a letter with the emblem of the far-right party threatening that there will be blood if Muslims do not leave the country.
Police said they were examining the threatening letter, which was written in Greek, English and Arabic.
Aided by current economic woes in Greece, the far-right Golden Dawn has been gaining popularity over its hostile rhetoric against immigrants.
The party, which has 18 seats in parliament, has been blamed for recent attacks against immigrants in Greece, which is a major gateway for mostly Asian and African migrants trying to enter the European Union.
Muslims account for nearly 1.3 percent of Greece's 10.7 million population.
Anti-Muslim tide has been on the rise in debt-hit Greece, which is battling a growing recession that has brought thousands of job layoffs.In 2011, Muslims holding an open-air prayer near the city centre in Athens to celebrate `Eid Al-Adha, were harassed by local residents who threw eggs at them and blared loud music from windows.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net