December 21, 2016

GREECE: Muslims Refugees Set Fire To Christian Church, Paint “Allahu Akbar” Graffiti On Wall. Athens Must Build First Mosque Or Islamic Terror Will Strike, Threatens Government

Published on Mar 27, 2016: Scuffles erupted as hundreds of patriotic protesters, predominantly members of the social group "Sacred Band", demonstrated against refugees and the 'Islamification' of Greece in Thessaloniki, Sunday.

Jihad Watch
written and shared by Robert Spencer
Monday December 19, 2016

Meanwhile, the Greek government is building a handsome mosque in Athens at taxpayer expense.

“Vandals On the Island of Crete Set Church on Fire, Write ‘Allah is Great,'” by Philip Chrysopoulos, Greek Reporter, December 18, 2016 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

Vandals on Saturday set fire on a Greek Orthodox church in the Lagolio village of Crete and wrote “Allah is great”, infuriating locals.

According to news website, unknown perpetrators set fire to the Church of Archangel Michael in Lagolio, burning holy icons and part of the chancel.

A passerby saw the fire and notified local residents who ran to put out the fire before it spread. The perpetrators had also written “Allah is great” in Arabic on the walls.

The desecration of the church took place between 3 to 5 p.m., according to police sources. Police forces from Heraklion and Tymbaki are investigating the incident.

The Church of Archangel Michael is an important pilgrimage for the region and attracts many believers from surrounding areas to its annual feast.
Breitbart News
written by Liam Deacon
April 6, 2016

Athens — the last European capital without a mosque — is likely to be hit by Islamic terror attacks unless it rapidly builds one with tax payer money, local government officials have warned.

“Every day that we do not have an official mosque and Imam in Athens, we pay for in the increased risk of the radicalisation of Muslims”, an official at the Education and Religious Affairs Ministry who wished to remain anonymous told Kathimerini.

The official argued that so long Muslims continued to meet, “in the dark and unofficial places of worship”, without government appointed Imams and away from public scrutiny, they would be more inclined towards radical Islam.

“It is exactly because of the recent terrorist attacks that we have to move quickly to construct the mosque in Athens,” said the official.

Adding: “The state has to have an official interlocutor who represents the various branches of Islam. When you do not have official places of worship, who can you speak with?”

Numerous unofficial and underground mosques are thought to exist in Athens, with their numbers swelling since the mass Muslim migration from Turkey induced by the European migration crisis.

Even before the crisis, Athens had a Muslim population of between 200,000 and 300,000 – a significant portion of the country’s one million Muslims.

It has been seventy years since it was first decided that a mosque would be built in the Votanikos area, near the centre of the Greek capital.

The construction has been repeatedly pushed back, but in October last year the Council of State rejected an appeal of 111 local residences, final paving the way for its construction.

The scars of Muslim invasion are still raw in the city, and the group of Orthodox Christians had argued that the building would not be consistent with the history and aesthetics of the city, according to Greek Reporter.

Several disused and derelict Ottoman mosques remain in the city, such as the Fethiye Mosque, which was built atop the ruins of a Christian basilica soon after the Ottoman invasion of 1456, and rebuilt by the occupying forces in the 18th century.
The Los Angeles Times, USA
written by Umar Farooq
Saturday November 12, 2016

In a country where the Orthodox Church is part of Greek identity, Muslims have long found that new mosques could be built only in certain areas that did not include Athens, the capital.

But an influx of mostly Muslim migrants coupled with an unabashedly leftist Greek government is bringing change. Authorities in October signed a nearly $1-million (887,000 euro) deal to build the first state-funded mosque in Athens since the end of Ottoman rule more than 180 years ago.

The mosque planned for the Votanikos neighborhood, while significant, is expected to have a capacity of fewer than 500 people, not enough to meet all the needs of the estimated 200,000 Muslims in Athens, analysts and residents say.

“It would be a symbolic gesture,” said Konstantinos Tsitselikis, an expert on religious minorities at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki. “It’s very small and for sure cannot cover the number of Muslims in Athens.”

For decades, plans for a mosque have been stymied by vitriolic rhetoric against Muslims and Turks, the construction of a mosque likened to a return to Ottoman occupation. Police this month arrested 15 nationalist protesters who had occupied the site of the new mosque since July.

A proposal for a mosque near Athens International Airport failed in 2003 after the local Greek Orthodox bishop said it was "not representative of Greek culture" and foreign visitors would "feel they have arrived in a Muslim country."

In 2014, a candidate for mayor from the New Democracy opposition party said a Votanikos mosque would attract unwanted foreigners.

But the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which has proposed a constitutional referendum that would enshrine separation of church and state, has pushed ahead with the mosque plan.

“The existence of makeshift mosques is a shame for the country as well as for the Muslim community and a danger to national security,” Nikos Filis, the minister of education, research and religious affairs, said in August.

In recent weeks, Filis has also been criticized by church leaders for plans to update theology classes in public schools to include material on Islam and other religions in an effort to prepare students for the influx of Muslim migrants.

Politicians opposing the new mosque have said it would encourage the flow of illegal migrants, who they say make up most of the city's Muslim population. Some church leaders, meanwhile, have couched opposition in religious terms.

The government's outreach to Muslim migrants posed "a danger of Islamization" and was part of a plan to "de-Hellenize and de-Christianize" the nation, the head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, Ieronymos II, said this month in a televised interview.

Ieronymos, who is archbishop of Athens and all Greece, said that plans for the mosque in Votanikos should be postponed until it is clear how many migrants would remain in the city.

"If [Muslims] are passersby, what need is there” for a mosque? he said. “Will it be a place of prayer or a place of instruction? ... It is a problem."

Other projects include the 17th century Fethiye Mosque, which is undergoing a $1.4-million (1.3 million euro) restoration by the government to house collections from four centuries of Ottoman rule in Athens. Turkish leaders have called for the mosque to be reopened for worshipers.

In the nearby 2,100-year-old Tower of the Winds monument, haphazardly painted Arabic calligraphy one could mistake for graffiti is found beside a prayer niche, drawn by whirling dervishes who used the structure as a lodge until the Greeks overthrew the Ottoman rulers in 1829.

Since then, the rights of the Muslim minority in Greece have been beholden to the prevailing winds of Turkish-Greek relations, Tsitselikis said.

“Religion and being Greek have long been linked together,” Tsitselikis said. “To be Greek, you have to be Greek Orthodox, and in some cases this is reflected in the law also. … Being Muslim is often linked to being Turkish.”

The Greek constitution stipulates Greek Orthodox Christianity is “the prevailing religion,” and 10,000 priests are on the public payroll.

Around 100,000 Muslims of Turkish descent in a handful of districts including Thessaloniki are granted rights to build and operate mosques under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, but those living outside the region, including Athens, have until recently had little legal recognition of their faith.

Under a 2006 law, minority faith groups no longer need permission from the local Orthodox bishop to build a place of worship, but problems remain.

Lack of funding and the fact that many of the Muslims in Athens are undocumented migrants make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to properly register a mosque, said Muhammad Abdulhamid, the chairman of a makeshift mosque in central Athens, who arrived in Athens 15 years ago from Pakistan.

The government streamlined the process for registering mosques in 2014, over heated debates in Parliament, denunciations by Orthodox clergy and protests by right wing groups like Golden Dawn.

So far only three congregations in the city have been able to register as places of worship. With little funds to hire the inspectors and lawyers to meet regulations, the 120 or so other congregations meet in sites registered as libraries, cultural centers, shops or apartments.

“We have lots of problems still,” Abdulhamid said. “We don’t have money because there are not people staying here permanently – with the economic crisis many people see Greece as a stopping point to Europe – and it’s difficult to find a space that meets the requirements for a mosque.”

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