Greek Parliament votes again on mosque construction
Greece`s Parliament on Thursday voted again on resolving "bureaucratic obstacles" to building a long-delayed official mosque in Athens.
Attica: Greece`s Parliament on Thursday voted again on resolving "bureaucratic obstacles" to building a long-delayed official mosque in Athens.
A large majority of lawmakers from across the political divide approved the amendment, with 206 votes out of 300 in favour.
Education Minister Nikos Filis told Parliament that the amendment was "technical and bureaucratic in nature" but aimed at pushing the project along.
There have been at least seven laws passed on creating an official mosque in Athens since way back in 1890.
Filis said that another four mosques had been authorised by the state in other cities.
Only neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and the Independent Greeks, a nationalist party supporting the leftist government, voted against the law.
The building in the Athens district of Votanikos will have a budget of EUR 946,000 (USD 1.1 million) and will be built on land formerly used by the military.
The site is close to the Eleonas migrant camp and will be able to accommodate up to 400 faithful, according to the amendment.
The efforts to build the mosque in Athens have been thwarted by opposition from the influential Orthodox Church and nationalist sentiment.
Four attempts to find a business group to back the project failed before a contractor was picked in 2013.
Athens is one of the few European capitals without an official mosque.
The Greek capital is home to an estimated 200,000 Muslims, many of them immigrants, who use flats and basements to pray.
The only official mosques in Greece are situated in the northeast region of Thrace, where a Muslim minority lives.