News / Europe

Greek Consortium Wins Tender to Build First Mosque in Capital

Muslims pray inside the Greek-Arabic educational cultural center at Moschato suburb in Athens May 24, 2013.Muslims pray inside the Greek-Arabic educational cultural center at Moschato suburb in Athens May 24, 2013.
x
Muslims pray inside the Greek-Arabic educational cultural center at Moschato suburb in Athens May 24, 2013.
Muslims pray inside the Greek-Arabic educational cultural center at Moschato suburb in Athens May 24, 2013.
Reuters
The long-stalled construction of a state-funded mosque in Athens came a step closer on Thursday with the announcement that a consortium of Greek companies had won the tender to build it.
 
Athens has not had a formal mosque since Greece won independence from occupying Ottomans in 1832 and has been criticized by human rights groups such as Amnesty International for being one of the few European capitals without one.
 
But a government decision in May to revive the project during the country's deepest economic crisis had divided a country that spent nearly four decades under Turkish Ottoman rule, where hostility towards migrants is rising and the Orthodox Church is a powerful institution.
 
The far-right Golden Dawn party has threatened to block the plan and one local bishop, Seraphim of Piraeus, has taken the issue to the top administrative court, the Council of State.
 
J&P Avax, Terna, Aktor, Intrakat won the tender to build the mosque that will cost about 946,000 euros ($1.27 million) and is expected to take six months to be completed, the Infrastructure Ministry said.
 
The government launched the tender in May. A previous competition after that failed to attract suitable bidders. Repeated plans for a mosque in Athens have all fallen through, including one planned for the 2004 Olympics.
 
The mosque's critics say the near 1 million euro cost is too high a price tag for a country dependent on foreign aid to stay afloat and struggling through six years of recession that has left more than one in four of the workforce jobless.
 
Greece is home to about 1 million immigrants and groups such as Golden Dawn say undocumented workers have pushed up crime and put a burden on state resources at a time of crisis.
 
Muslim groups estimate more than 200,000 Muslims from countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh live in Athens alone.
 
Without a proper place of worship, they have been praying in makeshift mosques set up in old garages or dingy warehouses. Many have been the target of racist attacks and at least one has been set on fire.
 
The mosque, which will be about 600 square meters, will have no minaret and will be built on a disused naval base in Votanikos, a rundown industrial neighborhood where locals have held a number of protests against the plan, led by the far-right National Front movement.($1 = 0.7430 euros.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More