Mosque Will Not Be Ready For Olympics

July 21, 2004

Source: Reuters

On July 21, 2004 Reuters reported, "Athens' first new mosque in more than 175 years will not be ready in time for next month's Athens Olympics, says the government. Greek authorities had linked the planned mosque to efforts to bolster the country's image among Muslim nations competing in August's Olympiad. Athens is home to an estimated 100,000 Muslim Albanians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Moroccans, Syrians and Nigerians, but it is the only European Union capital with no officially recognised mosque. Bureaucratic hurdles have prevented its construction in Peania 35 km (20 miles) from the capital, the foreign ministry said. 'The project is in a final stage now and only bureaucratic procedures are outstanding,' ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos told reporters on Wednesday. He said work on the mosque, the first since the end of the Ottoman rule in the late 1820s, would start in the months after the August 13-29 Olympics."