Greek Establishment Sets Up Muslim Terrorist Center
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Muslim purpose-built prayer site opens in Athens
ATHENS Saturday, Jun 23 2007 01:57:34 IST
Muslims living in Athens inaugurated their first purpose-built prayer site today, with the opening of a new Muslim cultural centre that has a place of worship accommodating more than 2,000 people.
A far cry from the crowded derelict basements or terraces used until now, the new building in the industrial Moschato district features special prayer rooms, flat-screen TVs and carpets flown in from Turkey.
It was flooded with over 1,000 worshippers today.
A former clothing factory, the building was purchased by a Saudi businessman who donated it to the community, Muslim officials said.
''I cannot express myself from the emotions that overcome me at this moment,'' Naim El-Gandour, head of Muslim Association of Greece told reporters ahead of the official inauguration. ''This is the first time we have a visible clean, rich space.'' Representatives of the embassies of Iran and Saudi Arabia, and heads of other European Muslim organizations mingled with hundreds of local worshippers during the brief opening ceremony.
The 700,000 strong Muslim community in the wider Attica region, growing mainly due to an influx of Asian migrants looking for work, had been pressing the Greek government for decades to consider a location for a mosque.
Plans for a mosque to be built ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympics had faltered with Muslims objecting to the remote location selected at the time.
It was not until last year that predominantly Orthodox Christian Greece earmarked a location in western Athens.
Construction on that project has yet to commence. ''This is a start. Work with the government is progressing well to build a proper mosque. This does not fit all of us but it is important that this has happened, '' Gandour said.
-- (Reuters) -- 22FN107.xml