City mosque plans moving

Reforms foreseeing the construction of a mosque in Athens, the only capital out of the original 15 member states of the European Union that lacks an official place of worship for Muslims, are to come before Parliament next month, it emerged Friday.

The government is determined to move forward with much-delayed plans to build a place of worship for thousands of Muslim residents of Athens, Giorgos Kalantzis, general secretary for religious affairs at the Education and Religion Ministry, told Kathimerini.

The pressure on Greek authorities to build a mosque, from within and outside Greece, is growing, Kalantzis said.

The mosque, which will not feature minarets, is to be housed on a plot of land formerly belonging to the Navy in Votanikos, west of central Athens, and the project is to be funded by the state. According to sources, the cost will be significantly lower than the 15 million euros earmarked by the previous New Democracy government.

Currently thousands of Muslims living in Athens cram into basement apartments and other makeshift sites to pray.

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