Angry that the government has awarded a 946,000 euros contract to pay for the construction of an official mosque for Muslims without demanding reciprocation from Turkey, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party said it would organize mass protests to rally opponents and protest the government’s decision go go ahead.
The extremist party said the awarding of the contract was an “unprecedented provocation” and that it would use its position “within Parliament and mainly through mass, powerful demonstrations” to prevent the mosque being built. It has support from some clerics in the Greek Orthodox Church as well as the right-wing Independent Greeks party which opposes the mosque and said it was against national interests.
Ex-Independent Greeks MP Christos Zois, who leads his own party, Nea Mera, said the location of the mosque in Votanikos, “just a few meters from the sacred rock of the Acropolis and Plato’s olive tree” was disrespectful to Greek history.
“This comes at a time when the government does not dare to demand that Hagia Sophia [in Istanbul] be recognized as a place of worship of worldwide importance and the reopening of the Halki theological seminary,” said Zois.
The Infrastructure Ministry said it had awarded the contract for the mosque’s construction to a consortium comprising the firms J&P Avax, Terna, Aktor and Intrakat.
The mosque will be built on land that belonged to the Hellenic Navy in Votanikos, near central Athens. Ministry officials said the construction work should begin early next year.