Greece closes down mosques and criminalizes Muslim religious expression

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

It seems that Greece is moving in the footsteps of France after the padlocks that it gradually imposes on the «illegal», as it calls them, Mosques of Athens. The argument used is the need for the existence of an official place of worship that belongs to the Greek state.

However, the premises are legal and operate in accordance with the statutes of organizations that provide for the religious expression of the believers, including prayer in congregation. Nevertheless, the Greek Police forces the owners of these places to close, even if these places are intended for organizations or associations. More specifically, in a telephone communication we had with the police unit of Omonia, it was stressed that any religious expression of the Muslims is now strictly forbidden in the Muslim associations even if the place is not intended as a mosque.

It should be noted here that the security bodies, in conversations they had with the owners of the private mosques, before the announcement of the opening of the official «Mosque», assured them that there is no question of locking and sealing. Besides, as it is known, for decades the premises operated in perfect conditions, at all levels and with the knowledge of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), Anti-terrorist security and Greek Police. To be precise, these places were crucial in the proper functioning of the communities and in the service of the Muslims in various parts of the country.

With the opening of the “official mosque”, the Greek state spreads in every direction that it respects Muslims as it is a movement that symbolizes «democracy» and freedom of religious expression. In reality, however, the padlocks expected in about 80 private mosques, some of which have been operating in Greece for nearly 30 years, symbolize the persecution of Muslim religious expression.

Regarding the nature of the official fake Mosque, we distinguish many elements that violate the meaning of the Mosque. The two main ones are that the space is under the authority of non-Muslims, where such a thing is not permissible in the Qur’an (Qur’an 9: 17-18). Furthermore, the place is not specified for a specific creed. It is intended to be used by Shiites, Sunnis and others. It is like talking about a Christian church that will be given to Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox. Everyone understands the magnitude of arbitrariness from the part of those in charge.

While the Greek state tries to advertise its supposed tolerance towards Muslims abroad having the Mosque as a showcase, inside the country it reveals its Islamophobic intentions having as a purpose to exterminate Muslim communities. The proof can be found in the words of the deputy of “New Democracy” party, Angelos Syrigos. We read in his recent interview with ETHNOS newspaper:

“When asked if the mosque in Votanikos can meet the needs of all Muslims living in all areas of Attica, Mr. Syrigos answers:” Greece is not a Muslim country. Experience has shown that a need to cover large venues exists only on major Muslim holidays. Therefore, we can say that the mosque at the Votanikos can meet the needs of Muslims who want to pray.» On security issues, the well-known professor of International Law and Foreign Policy notes that «it is 100% certain that there is a risk to state security. The example from other countries shows us that radicalization begins in the mosques. Prayer areas need special attention. «

The deputy tried to avoid the journalist’s question by answering without meaning that «Greece is not an Islamic country». Since it is not an Islamic country, why bother with the construction of the space with public funds and with an institutionalized form? And by what logic do padlocks enter the private mosques that for so many years served the needs of the Muslims silently without challenges and dangers?  He goes on to say that «experience» has shown that a need to cover large venues exists only on major Muslim holidays. What «experience» is this? The deputy is uninformed. Muslims pray 5 times a day and the private Mosques of worship are filled every Friday. How are these people going to fit in the «official» Mosque?

To understand their absurdity, they close 80 Islamic places of worship, with each place comfortably holding an average of at least 100 people and open a single space with a capacity of 350 people. In other words, they deny thousands of Muslims access to a place of worship, allowing only 350 people. With what excuse and what is the logic behind all this? With the logic that Greece is not an Islamic country! The message of the Greek state towards Muslims in Greece is more than clear.

The excuse given by many is that the premises are not suitable to host the gathering of people so they do not meet the requirements for a permit. The claim is at least funny because the orgy of corruption in the urban part is known. In addition, most of the licensed sites are legally problematic and unsuitable based on the so-called “human security”. Permits have been given to warehouses, semi-basements and even to former garages! So the reasonable question that arises is how did some of them receive the relevant license to operate as a Mosque? The detailed answer will be given in a future article because the background is very rich.

Islamophobia and fearmongering are then used to say that mosques are dangerous as they are hotbeds of radicalization. For this reason, he informs us, that prayer areas «need attention». In other words, for the deputy, Islam and Muslims mean terrorism and fanaticism to the point where they need to be monitored. He also states that «The example from other countries shows us that radicalization begins in the mosques.» This is an unsupported statement since radicalization, as a basic rule, is not found in organized Muslim communities nor in their places of worship. The proof is the profile of the average terrorist who is marginalized, isolated and cut off from all believers.

Unfortunately, the real radicalization lies in the methods of the Greek state, which targets and persecutes places of worship under the excuse of permits. In fact, the aim is to exterminate the private mosques and the communities they represent. These places have repeatedly proven their functionality and the service they offer to a huge number of believers located in Attica. These Muslims will now be found by compulsion without a place for prayer, resulting in prayers being offered privately and secretly. Isn’t this dangerous?

As a conclusion, Greece and in particular the policy with the Mosque, cannot be offered as a show off for the freedom and respect of Muslims. Instead, it is offered as an example of the extermination of the Muslim communities.

Ahmad M. Eldin

Diploma in Islamic studies

Salaf-ul-Salih Mosque (Ar Rahman) –

Στο θεωρώ ότι ο καθένας έχει δικαίωμα να εκφράζεται, αυτό όμως δεν σημαίνει ότι υιοθετώ τις απόψεις αυτές. Το κάθε σχόλιο εκφράζει τον σχολιαστή και μόνο. Παρακαλώ πολύ να είστε ευπρεπείς στις εκφράσεις σας. Σχόλια με ύβρεις, ειρωνείες, προκλήσεις, χλευασμούς, θα διαγράφονται αυτόματα

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