NEWS

Mosques in Greece

Does the idea of having a mosque alongside a Christian church frighten you? I am thinking of the debate in Greece over whether to build a mosque. Obviously it doesn’t frighten me, since this is the situation in Albania. There is both an Orthodox church and a mosque in nearly every town. As I said earlier, Albania is a multi-faith country. But I do not think it would be successful to try and apply these conditions to Greece. I am not familiar with all the aspects of the issue you are referring to. I remember that when in 1976 my book «Islam, a Religious Overview» was published and I had been asked about the idea of constructing a mosque, my reply then was «Why not?» In any case, Greece’s Muslims already have mosques where there are established communities. However, it is one thing for a community of Muslims to have a house of worship for their religious needs, and another for a foreign country to attempt to build an impressive Islamic center in one of the most prominent entry points to a Christian country. Especially when it is a Muslim government who wants to subsidize the construction, which will not even permit the construction of the smallest Christian chapels in its own country. The principle of mutuality requires us to remind our dear Muslim friends that they should be ready to reciprocate in kind in their own capitals, wherever there are minorities, in return for what they are asking from European capitals.