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State-funded mosque in Athens could open in months

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(7 Jun 2019) Greece's education and religion minister says the country's long-delayed first state-sponsored mosque is likely to begin operating in September, about three years after its construction was approved by parliament.Kostas Gavroglou spoke Friday during a visit to the nearly complete mosque on the outskirts of Athens, accompanied by representatives of the Muslim community. Its construction has been controversial, with some opposing a mosque in the Greek capital.The mosque, approved by lawmakers in August 2016 and built in a mainly industrial area of the capital, will provide an official place of worship for the country's Muslim immigrant community and for visitors. Tens of thousands of Muslim migrants live in the greater Athens area, and have been using informal prayer rooms in basements and disused stores.Gavroglou noted the Athens mosque, unlike most in Europe, was a public and not a privately-owned place of worship, and it belonged to all.The near completion of the project has been greeted with relief by members of the capital's Muslim community.Ashir Haidar, a representative of the Shiite Muslim community of Greece, described the upcoming opening as "a dream come true."Having to use informal prayer rooms dotted around the Greek capital often led to problems, with local residents sometimes objecting to some practices, said Alishba Zahra Rizvi, a 19-year-old from Pakistan who has been living in Greece for the past four years and came to view the new facility.Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Archive Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/APArchives Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/10201102858... Tumblr: https://aparchives.tumblr.com/​​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/APNews/ You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you...

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AP Archive 4214738 a7061f8c6c1deb0a9458586d320187f8 Greece Mosque Athens Greece Western Europe Government and politics Social affairs
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