Time counts backwards for the operation of the first official Islamic mosque in Athens, after years of struggle by the Muslim communities of Greece. The government has been involved in a race to complete the next few days the work of redevelopment of the surrounding area, the shaping and equipping of the interior of the mosque, and the process of recruiting Imam. The intention of the government is to function it officially at the beginning of April, and certainly before Easter.
At Maximum’s Palace, there is the thought of giving the proper splendour to the inauguration of the mosque with a great ceremony, to which even the leaders of Islamic states will be invited to attend. This shows that the country’s domestic affair, with the signature of Antonis Samaras, will be exploited by the government to promote the image of the Prime Minister internationally, while at the same time strengthening Greece’s profile, that it fully respects religious rights, constructing and operating a state mosque, as a continuation of the image he has achieved abroad after the Prespa Agreement.
The position of the Muslim communities is that the mosque in Islam is an obligation of the followers and believers rather than the state. They could take advantage of this suggestion without thinking that the mosque was made because Islamic countries were pressing, and not because it was a need to satisfy the religious needs of a large community living in Attica.
Greece is the only country in Europe where the state operates a mosque, and has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia or Turkey and Iran competing with each other to control Muslims through the mosques they are building. On the other hand, fanaticism between the Sunni and the Shiites will not be enhanced. The cost of building project reached € 2.6 million from resources from the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks and the Public Investment Program. The capacity of the mosque, based on information, will be 300 people and is not giant, as some have originally sought, as there is no oversized Christian church in Athens. There are specific building conditions that are respected and of course rejected thoughts about huge buildings that could overshadow the symbol of the city and the country, which is the Acropolis.
Imam was found and he is qualified …
Administrator Greek citizen of Moroccan Background.
He lives in our country for more than 25 years, Suni – Maliki in the doctrine … with a clean criminal record, a family man with 3 children active member of the Moroccan community, worked in the construction sector and interpreter. All these were criteria for his choice, while the procedure for his appointment is in progress.
Security of the Mosque:
After many and countless attacks, some of which have not seen the public, the state has to take measures to protect believers as well as visitors to the mosque.
The operation of the mosque, according to a decision of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs of the NPID under the name of the “Administrative Committee of the Islamic Temple of Athens”, is managed by 7 members of the Board, in which: a permanent civil servant – head of the Ministry of Education’s General Secretariat for Religious Affairs, as chairman, a representative of the Ministry of Finance, two representatives of the City of Athens, a lawyer in charge of Public Law with a specialization in Public Law two representatives of the Muslims legally living in Attica. Chairman of the first BoD Mr. Constantinos Pittadakis, Deputy Head of Directorate of the General Secretariat of Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Education, who in general is in Islam, must be of a Muslim religion. Representatives of Muslim communities were selected on the basis of the number of their co-religious who represent their general appeal to the Muslim population of Athens, and those who maintain relations with extreme Islamic organizations such as the “Muslim Brotherhood” were rejected at the outset. In this case, Naim Elghandour. The mosque will be open daily from the first morning prayer until the last afternoon and 24 hours during the sacred Muslim month (Ramadan) and the sacrifice of Abraham’s sacrifice (Kurban Bajram). In the interior of the mosque there are two non-communicating prayer spaces (with the capacity for 300 men and 50 women).
The configuration will be according to the Islamic religion, with the Sacred Conch (Mihramb) and the pulpit (Minbari) above which there will be written sayings from Koran. The prayer will be in Arabic, while preaching in Greek and English, and in special cases in other languages. Exclusion of extreme voices and criminal elements from the mosque is envisaged.