Athens' Muslims have long used living rooms, community centers, and basements when seeking out places to pray, but now the only European capital without an official mosque is about to get one, the Washington Times website reports today (February 28, 2017).
The government-built mosque to be opened in April is being built in a renovated warehouse on land once owned by the Greek navy in Votanikos, a neighborhood two subway stops from the center of Athens. The mosque won't sport minarets, and government officials will appoint an imam.
Athens is the home of some 300,000 Muslims out of a population of 4 million people, and the mosque will be able to accommodate about 350 worshippers, according to the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs.
Despite the presence of more than 300 mosques in northern Greece -- where a large Muslim community dates back to Greece's long history as part of the Ottoman Empire until the first half of the 19th century -- building a mosque in Athens, the capital of an overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian nation, has long been taboo.