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Athens got its first government funded mosque in 200 years

Athens got its first government funded mosque in 200 years

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What happened: After years of delays caused by red tape, cutbacks and opposition from religious and political factions, the first government-funded mosque in Athens since 1833 opened its doors to worshipers. 

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.

Background: Plans to build a mosque in Athens began in 1890 but it took decades for them to materialize due to opposition from a predominantly Christian Orthodox population and nationalists, sluggish bureaucracy but most recently a decade-long financial crisis.

What people are saying: Many muslim community in Greece are welcoming this initiative but some are still not happy as they call it bare-minimum effort from the government. 

“It does not at all look like a place of worship, it is a small, square, miserable building,” said Naim El Ghandour, head of the Muslim Association of Greece. “We thank them very much for the offer, but we will fight to reach it to the level that we deserve.”

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