The Greek parliament finally approved a bill that allows the construction of Athens’ first official mosque to resume. Only far-right party Golden Dawn and Independent Greeks (ANEL) — a part of the coalition government — voted against the legislation, which specifies funding resources for the mosque and the structure of its administrative board.
A low-rise mosque sans a minaret — with a capacity to hold 350 people — is under construction in the downtown neighborhood of Votanikos in the Greek capital. Once finished, it will be the first official mosque in Athens and the first with a license to operate issued by the Greek state since the 19th century. The construction is expected to end in July.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Amanatidis praised the vote in a statement.
“By voting in favor of the article, we strengthen the international presence and scope of the country with respect to the human rights,” Amanatidis said.
The parliament gave the go-ahead for the construction in August 2016. However, far-right extremists occupied the premises, stalling work until police ended the standoff in November last year.—Agencies