GR: Its a start: Muslims get place to pray in Athens - 22 June 2007

Athens. Immigrant groups on Friday opened the first formal Islamic prayer site to operate in Athens since rule by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire ended more than 170 years ago. Plans by Greece's government to build a mosque for tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants living in the capital have stalled, so businessmen in Arab countries financed the downtown cultural center... (...) Plans to build a mosque in Athens have been unpopular, because of their association with centuries of rule by the Ottoman Empire, which ended in 1833 after a long rebellion. Some 97 percent of Greece's native-born population of 11 million is baptized Orthodox Christian. But last year, the government promised to spend $20 million for an Athens mosque by 2009. The Education and Religious Affairs Ministry will name a committee to choose the head imam, but says individual communities will be allowed to bring their own imams to the mosque...