At the dedication of the mosque in the city’s Votanikos neighborhood of Athens, Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Costas Gavroglou said: “The right to religious freedom does not depend on how one ended up in our country. It’s like the right to education and health care… It is a nonnegotiable human right.”
Although Athens is home to some 250,000 Muslims, until Friday, June 7, it was one of the only capitals of Europe without a mosque.
Sidi Mohammed Zaki, the mosque’s imam, said his community was honored to be present and had waited for a long time to see the fruition of this project.
“We thank the Greek people for accepting us as Greek citizens and Muslims, and I thank the Greek state for helping us set up this space.”
The construction of a mosque in Athens was announced several decades ago but strong opposition from far-right and religious groups halted its construction for years and the mosque suffered from numerous incidents of vandalism.
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.