ATHENS- A day after Greek government has confirmed that Athens' first official mosque will go ahead as planned, Greece's far-right activists have protested the idea once again, vowing to end Muslim dreams.
"This very moment, Golden Dawn with this massive and dynamic demonstration expresses the great, pan-Hellenic demand," said Ilias Kasidiaris, Golden Dawn party's spokesman and lawmaker, while addressing the party's protesters, New Tang Dynasty TV reported on Saturday, December 14.
"Not one illegal mosque in the Greek territory."
Athens Far-fetched Mosque Dream
Neo-Nazis to Slaughter Greece Muslims
Some of 700 members and backers of Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party have gathered in the Eleonas neighborhood, in central Athens, the location of Athens' first mosque, to protest the mosque plans.
Chanting 'Greece belongs to Greeks… Victory or death' and 'No mosques in Athens', protesters in black have raised banners with anti-mosques slogans along with the Greek flag.
The protest is not the first against Athens first mosque.
Last November, Golden Dawn MPs asked for a national vote on the plans to construct the Muslims’ only worshipping house.
The calls came less than two weeks after ‘J&P Avax, Terna, Aktor, Intrakat’ consortium won a tender to build the long-stalled construction of a state-funded mosque in Athens.
Greek Muslims have long called for building a grand mosque to accommodate the religious needs of the growing Muslim minority in the capital Athens.
Athens has come under fire by human rights groups such as Amnesty International for being one of the few European capitals without a mosque.
Repeated plans for a mosque in Athens began decades ago. The plan has angered far-right groups, which vowed to block the building of the mosque.
Despite objections from its powerful Orthodox Church, Greece had pledged to build a mosque in Athens to serve the city's growing Muslim minority.
The far-right Golden Dawn party, which is suspected of attacks against immigrants, said it will "fight until the bitter end" to block the mosque plan.
On Saturday's march, protesters have shouted slogans against Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkey.
Earlier media reports said that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan offered to fund a mosque in Athens have also sparked anger in Greece, which spend four centuries under Turkish Ottoman rule.
Despite ongoing objection from the neo-Nazi party and he Orthodox Church in Athens, Greece has pledged to build the mosque in Athens to serve the city's growing Muslim minority.
"Athens is to have a mosque for all Muslims who want to carry out their religious obligations with dignity whether they live in Athens or they are visiting Athens, as we are very happy when our citizens visit Turkey, or other countries, and they find Greek Orthodox churches open in the centre of the city," Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Evangelos Venizelos said.
Venizelos's confirmation came after a meeting Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister, who was in Athens on an official visit last Friday.
Lauding the mosque's plans, Davutoglu said: "I think as time goes by it is suitable for Athens to show its multiculturalism and I think that the Greek government has contributed in creating this climate."
Repeated plans for a mosque in Athens began in earnest in 1880, with an act of parliament, but all fell through, including one timed for the 2004 Olympic Games.
The plan has angered far-right groups, which vowed to block the building of the mosque.
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.
The Orthodox Church has for years insisted that Greeks were not ready to see a minaret in downtown Athens.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
We are not responsible for the content of external internet sites