Source: Voice of America
On August 12, 2004 Voice of America reported, "The Olympics will bring to Greece thousands of visitors from all over the world. For Muslims coming to Athens to see the games, finding a mosque to attend prayer services will not be easy. While there are more than 100,000 Muslims in Athens there are no official mosques in the entire city. Maher Rassas' small store in [a] Muslim neighborhood of Athens serves as the local gathering point. Every evening, his basement serves as the local mosque. While Maher Rassas does not mind part of his home being used for prayer services, he says the building of an official mosque in Athens would help send a signal that all religions should be valued and respected... Greek Muslim leader Imam Sherif is hoping the Olympics, and the thousands of journalists who are in town to cover the games, will make a difference. Imam Sherif is the coordinator for Muslim prayer services in the Olympic village. 'I hope that the attention that the Olympics brings will solve it. There are over 100,000 Muslims in Athens and it is time they have a place to pray,' he said. He says Athens and much of the world should follow the example of Olympic athletes, both Christian and Muslim, who pray side by side at prayer services in the Olympic village."