The Chairman of the Muslim Association of Greece, Naim Elghandour, said that he believes Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose family background includes roots in Egypt, is a racist because he has failed to create a legal mosque in the country.
Elghandour, who is also from Egypt, was speaking at an event in Athens where an American-made film that Muslims believe blasphemes the Prophet Mohammad was debated.
The website News.It reported that he said, “Our Prime Minister is a racist. I live in a country where our Prime Minister, the Prime Minister of the country, is a racist. Based on his pre-election campaign he said, and look for yourselves, that immigrants are conquerors.”
Without a legal mosque, the Muslim leader, 57, who is married to a Greek woman, said members of his faith are forced to use makeshift set-ups, including in basements, all around the country.
The association has about 18,000 members and has been struggling for years to get state approval – and funding – for a mosque and several deals that seemed ready have fallen through. Elghandour said the government doesn’t respect religious convictions of non-Orthodox peoples and said, “As soon as the racists are done with immigrants, they will be occupied with someone else.”
There was a lot of tension in the room at the function, which focused on the film that has stirred violence in many countries by angry Muslims, and he called for calm so that the danger doesn’t escalate and more people are hurt.
But while he said he was sad over the murder of the American Ambassador to Libya that has been tied both to reaction against the film and an organized assault unrelated to it, Elghandour accused the U.S. of playing a “dirty game” because of the coming Presidential elections there. He said that there’s no excuse for the violent attacks the film has spawned and they are unbecoming of Muslims.
Talking to News.it, he said that the racist attacks going on in Athens are not only against Muslims but Christians from Egypt. He said that, “I am sure that when they’re done with the Muslims they will start targeting others.”