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Athens mosque likely to open in September, Greek minister says

Athens mosque likely to open in September, Greek minister says

Greek Education Minister Kostas Gavroglou said on Friday that Athens would open its first state-sponsored official mosque probably by September, when the €850,000 ($967,000) construction project is completed. “Soon the first prayers will be made by the imam,” Reuters quoted Gavroglou as saying.

There are mosques in other parts of the country, which has a predominantly Christian Orthodox population, but the capital, Athens, has not had a formal mosque since it drove out occupying Ottomans in 1833, and the few that were left have been re-purposed.

More than 200,000 Muslims from countries including Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh live in the Greek capital, according to Muslim groups.

Greece has its own Muslim community, which represent about 2 percent of the population who live mainly in the north, where they have their own mosques.