Athens gets its first mosque after years of wrangling

The first mosque in the Greek capital of Athens has opened after 14 years of bureaucratic delays, Kathimerini newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The mosque’s inaugural prayers were held on Monday evening under COVID-19 measures meaning only a handful of people were able to attend, the newspaper said.

Athens was as the only European capital not to have a mosque.

The project to open a state-sanctioned mosque in Athens began in 2007. But it quickly ran into strong opposition from the Orthodox Church, as well as from Greek nationalist groups.

During a spat between Greece and Turkey over the conversion of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticised Athens for not having a mosque despite its large Muslim community.